This article provides an overview of Wuhan for those keen on exploring the possibility of living and working there. The information presented is gathered from open sources and is not exhaustive or meant to supplement or substitute legal and professional advice.
- Province: Hubei
- Land area: 8,494 sq km
- Population (2017): 10.89 million
- Mayor: Zhou Xianwang
- GDP (2017): RMB 1.341 billion
- GDP Per Capita: RMB 123,831
The city of Wuhan dates back 3,500 years. Today, it serves as the capital city of Hubei province in central China. Situated at the confluence of the Yangtze and Han Rivers, the city lies within 1,200 km of other major Chinese cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu and Xi’an.
Described as a “high-growth city” by Lim Ming Yan, president and group CEO of CapitaLand in Singapore, Wuhan enjoys a reputation being the “major transport and commercial hub in central China with strong economic fundamentals and is set to benefit even more from China’s Belt and Road Initiative. In addition, its mayor, Mr Zhou Xianwang, said that the city “will promote high quality development and accelerate its internationalisation.” Wuhan is prioritising the development of “world class industrial clusters in optoelectronic information, automobiles and parts, biomedicine and medical equipment and environmental protection.” Alongside its plans to develop itself as a global logistics hub, it has plans to strengthen the supply chain cooperation and create a business-friendly environment.
Wuhan is home to the country’s largest inland port. Moreover, it is where maritime, river, rail and road transport routes converge, thus enabling it to serve as a strategic distribution point for produce from the middle of the Yangtze valley and for west and southwest China. It is also one of the cities (apart from Shanghai, Shenzhen and Suzhou) that is emerging as a conducive place for tech companies to grow. In fact, Wuhan is known for its talent in innovation.
The services sector accounts for 51 percent of the city’s GDP, followed by industrial production (45.7 percent) and agriculture (3.3 percent). The city’s major industries include automotive, steel and iron manufacturing, high-tech industries such as optoelectronic technology, pharmaceutical, biology engineering, new material industry and environmental protection. There are also a number of joint ventures with foreign companies, including Honda, Nissan and PSA Peugeot-Citroen.
There are 89 universities in Wuhan, of which Wuhan University and Huazhong University of Science and Technology are ranked 8th and 10th respectively among China’s universities. Total enrolment in these universities is more than 1.3 million. Each year, over 100,000 graduates remain in the city as entrepreneurs. In addition, 30 universities offer creative design majors. Singapore’s universities, such as Nanyang Technological University, National University of Singapore and Singapore Management University, offer study programmes with Wuhan University, which is reputed to enjoy one of China’s most beautiful campuses.
Wuhan is the gateway to the Three Gorges hydroelectric power dam on the Yangtze River. The Yellow Crane Tower and Hubei Provincial Museum are two places where visitors can appreciate ancient Chinese history and culture. Other places of interest include the villa of the late Chairman Mao Zedong on the scenic East Lake in Wuchang, the Yangtze River and the Yangtze River Bridge, to name a few.
Singapore and Wuhan
On 19 July 2018, a Singapore government and business delegation led by Mr Sam Tan (Minister of State for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Social and Family Development) visited Wuhan to discuss further cooperation. During the visit, a number of joint projects between companies from both Wuhan and Singapore were proposed.
Some Singapore companies have business interests in Wuhan. For instance, in 2015, Singapore-listed developer Perennial Real Estate Holdings entered Wuhan’s healthcare industry with a joint venture proposal in hospital services. Since 2017, it has expanded its presence in China to include other healthcare-related businesses, such as the building of another 1,077-bed nursing hospital and retirement home, in partnership with the Wuhan municipal government.
On 17 January 2018, CapitaLand, through its wholly-owned subsidiary CapitaLand China, signed a strategic cooperation Memorandum of Understanding with Wuchang, a district of Wuhan, to develop a proposed integrated development of a prime site there. The proposed integrated development is expected to surpass all of CapitaLand’s existing properties in central China.