Jinan is the capital of the Chinese province of Shandong and is the centre of politics, economy and culture for the province.
A decision was made by the City Council in 1981 to approach the Chinese Embassy with a view to finding a twin city in China. This was recognised as being an effective way of accessing the Chinese market. The Chinese Embassy in London identified Jinan as having a similar economic profile to Coventry. The link was formalised in autumn 1983. A series of delegations followed, but with hindsight it is possible to see that neither city was able to maximise commercial opportunities as Deng Xiaping's Open Door policy was in its earliest stage (initiated in 1978).
Jinan is an ancient city with a long history and a rich culture. Over 2600 years ago it was already a walled city called 'Lo'. In the Han Dynasty (2100) years ago it was renamed Jinan, meaning 'South of the River Ji'. The successive dynasties of Sui, Tang, Song, Yuan and Qing have established their respective administrative systems of state here. The municipal administration was set up in 1929 and Jinan was liberated in 1948, which makes the 1998 the 50th year since the liberation.
Jinan is one of the 20 largest cities in China and is located in the mid-west of the Shandong peninsula. It is close to one of the country's most famous mountains, Mount Taishan, listed as a world heritage site. The Yellow River, the cradle of Chinese national culture flows across the City's north. Communications and transportation facilities in Jinan are well developed and it is the hub of communications in the Shandong Province.
Jinan has been rapidly developing its economy since the reforms and the opening up of China. It has developed its export-orientated sectors and in recent years has achieved an average annual foreign investment of US$300 million. By the end of 1996, 2200 foreign investment enterprises had been established and the accumulated foreign investment was US$1.1 billion. The annual average export value is US$1 billion. In the 1990's the annual economic growth rate was more than 12%.