The Most Beautiful Border City in China

Dandong is the main border city from China to North Korea, the DPRK. Border is the Yalu River in the southeast of Liaoning Province. Development of the city is mainly driven by industry, trade, logistics, and tourism. Dandong is the biggest border city in China, and regarded by many as the most beautiful. It is a national-level border economic cooperation zone and also the only city in Asia that has complete ways of domestic and international transportation, border crossings, airport, railways, river port, sea port, highways and expressways.

The city covers an administrative area of 15,200 square kilometers and has a total population of 2.43 million. Dandong is divided into three counties (county-level cities), three districts, and one state-level border economic cooperation zone.


Dandong has an agreeable climate, with no extreme temperatures in summer and winter. At an annual average temperature of 9°C, the city is called “Jiangnan in the North”. Jiangnan is the southern part of the YanGIZe Delta in Central-Eastern China. Dandong is the warmest and most humid region of Northeast China.

Situated in a top-rate ecological environment, the city is one of the country’s most livable cities. Dandong enjoys rich freshwater resources. With more than 1,000 rivers and creeks running across the city, its per capita amount of freshwater is 1.5 times that of the country and 4.5 times that of Liaoning Province. Forest coverage is 66 percent, making Dandong the green lung of the Liaodong Peninsula.

Dandong is also one of China’s top tourist and garden cities. It has a total of 24 national and provincial scenic areas, nature reserves, and forest parks. The city has launched a multitude of unique tourist programs, such as tours to North Korea, border tours, thermal baths, seaside holidays, and golf courses, which greatly enchant hosts of tourists. The city has become a popular leisure resort.

Dandong will be a transfer center of the planned Tokyo-Seoul-Beijing great international passageway. The city has already established a comprehensive land-sea-air transportation network. Distance to Pyongyang is 220 kilometers and 420 kilometers to Seoul. The city is 220 kilometers from Shenyang and 252 kilometers from Dalian, connected to both with new expressways. The railway passage in the eastern section of Northeast China and the Dandong-Tonghua Railway that are under construction will serve as new channels to bring the eastern part of Northeast China into contact with other countries and regions. The bountiful resources of the thirteen cities in the region will be available by sea.

Economic Development

Regional GDP of Dandong was 60.75 billion RMB (about 8.68 billion USD) in 2009, 16 percent more than in the year before. Fixed assets investment was 49 billion RMB (7 billion USD), up 40 percent. The average salary was 23,370 RMB (3,338 USD), leading to a disposable income per capita of urban residents of 12,827 RMB (1,932 USD), and annual consumption per capita of 10,380 RMB (1,482 USD).

Dandong has most jobs in the service sector and in agriculture and mining, while the secondary sector is less relevant for employment than in most other regions of Liaoning. The primary sector employed 460,000 persons in the year 2009, while 254,000 worked in the secondary and 468,000 in the tertiary sector.

Industrial Pattern

Dandong has more than 1,700 enterprises, light industry accounting for the major proportion. Of all 82 light industry categories defined by the state, Dandong has 68 categories. The city has a solid foundation in new industries and a leading product development capacity for the instrument industry. Four fifth of Dandong’s main products, including chemical fiber, passenger buses, cars, and light-duty axles, are sold all over China or exported.

Car axles produced in Dandong dominate the domestic market. China’s only enterprise designated to manufacture automotive turbochargers by the National Automotive Industry Corporation, also the biggest producer of rear axle shafts for cars and agricultural vehicles: Dandong Huanghai Automobile Co., Ltd., produces 84 types of products, with a domestic market coverage rate exceeding 95 percent. The city is home to 46 state-owned and larger private enterprises, among them 15 in the electronic information industry. Also, 16 medium-sized high-tech and software enterprises are here. Viscose produced in the city has been leading the domestic market, and its tussah products enjoy fame all over the world. Other notable industrial products of Dandong are raw coal (1.3 million tons), cement (1.0 million tons) and raw iron (0.3 million tons). A significant volume of quality agricultural products such as forest frog, rice, Chinese chestnuts, strawberry, prawn, and tobacco also comes from Dandong.

Foreign Trade

Dandong is both a coastal city and border city. It shares 300 kilometers of borderline with the Korean Peninsula. Dandong is an essential city along the Trans-Asian Railway that links Shimonoseki (Japan), Seoul (South Korea), Pyongyang (North Korea), Beijing (China), and Moscow (Russia).

As an excellent natural ice-free port in northern China, the Port of Dandong is 245 nautical miles away from the Port of Incheon in South Korea. It also has direct links with Japan and plays a vital role in connecting the countries by sea. In 2008, the handling capacity of the port stood at 34.7 million tons. The goal of the port is to increase its handling capacity to 100 million tons in 2015.

An international passageway project, which is called “a grand campaign of the 21st century”, is under construction and will connect Tokyo across the “Japan-Korea Undersea Tunnel” with the Korean Peninsula, enter China at Dandong, pass through the Middle East, Moscow and Berlin, finally ending on the British Isles. The completion of this passageway will substantially enhance the strategic and economic status of Dandong as one of the eastern gateways. The city will stand out in economic and trade cooperation between China, the Eurasian Continent, Japan and the Korean Peninsula by land and sea. Great efforts are also being made to build Dandong Airport into a gateway airport.

North Korea, South Korea, Japan, and the United States are the top countries in foreign trade value of Dandong Port. Garments and accessories, base metals and related products, electromechanical products and spare parts, and anthracite coal are the commodities with the highest import value. Topping the list of exported products are crude oil, electromechanical products and spare parts, garments and accessories, agricultural products, base metals, textile materials and textile fabrics, aquatic products, and plastic products. Export of aquatic products more than doubled in 2008.

Living in Dandong

With an intact natural environment, clean and fresh air, convenient transportation, and a wide spectrum of businesses, Dandong is fine place to live, for business, and to visit. There are many choices of hotels, including the four-star Holiday Inn which provides proper accommodation and services for international visitors. Alongside the Yalu River, many bars and restaurants serve different cultures and tastes.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.