Xiamen is nicknamed the "Sea-Floating Garden." The harbor city of southeast China's Fujian Province is mainly comprised of an island off the East China Sea coast. Lovely scenery, a subtropical marine climate, and Xiamen's liberalized trade zone annually attract over three million tourists to the city.
Instituted by the Chinese State Council in 1980, Xiamen's Special Economic Zone encourages foreign investment and trade, accounting for the city's rapid development, and $3.7 billion (U.S.) in import-export volume for 1996. Xiamen is a magnet for high tech industry, in addition to finance, electronics, textile and food processing trades.
The city's 1.2 million residents speak Xiamen dialect, also spoken in nearby Taiwan. Xiamen's universities appeal to international students seeking to study Chinese history, language, and culture.
Recently, Xiamen was named China's cleanest city. Its hilly landscapes and tree-lined beaches (great for swimmers and windsurfers) speak well for this "window city" between China and the rest of the world.