Shantou: Wikis


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

—  Prefecture-level city  —
Chinese transcription(s)
 - Characters 汕頭
 - Pinyin Shàn Tóu
Shantou Harbor
Shantou Prefecture
Shantou is located in China
Shantou Prefecture
Coordinates: 23°21′N 116°40′E / 23.35°N 116.667°E / 23.35; 116.667Coordinates: 23°21′N 116°40′E / 23.35°N 116.667°E / 23.35; 116.667
Country China
Province Guangdong
City seat Jinping District
 - CPC Committee Secretary Huang Zhi Guang (黄志光)
 - Mayor Cai Zong Ze (蔡宗泽)
 - Total 2,064 km2 (796.9 sq mi)
 - Total 4,971,900
 - Density 2,408.9/km2 (6,238.9/sq mi)
 - Major Nationalities Han
Time zone China Standard (UTC+8)
Postal Code 515000, 515041
Area code(s) 754

Shantou (simplified Chinese: 汕头traditional Chinese: 汕頭pinyin: Shàntóu; POJ: Sòaⁿ-thâu; also historically known as Swátōw or Suátao) is a city of 4,971,000 permanent inhabitants (as at end 2006) in coastal Eastern Guangdong, China, occupying an area of 2,064 km2. With it and the immediately surrounding cities of Jieyang and Chaozhou, the metropolitan region – known as Chaoshan – covers an area of 10,404 km2, and had a permanent population of 13,139,800 at the end of 2006.

Shantou, a city significant in 19th-century Chinese history as one of the treaty ports established for Western trade and contact, was one of the original Special Economic Zones of the People's Republic of China established in the 1980s, but failed to blossom like other cities such as Shenzhen, Xiamen and Zhuhai. However, it remains as Eastern Guangdong's economic centre, and is home to Shantou University, a member of the “Project 211” group.



The historic quarter of Shantou, which features both Western and Chinese architecture

Shantou was a fishing village part of Tuojiang City (鮀江都), Jieyang District (揭陽縣) during the Song Dynasty. It came to be Xialing (廈嶺) during the Yuan Dynasty. In 1563, Shantou was a part of Chenghai District (澄海縣) in Chao Prefecture (Chaozhou). As early as 1574, Shantou had been called Shashan Ping (沙汕坪). In the seventeenth century, a cannon platform called Shashan Toupaotai (沙汕頭炮臺 sha shan tou pao tai) was made here, and the placename later was shortened to "Shantou". Locally it has been referred to as Kialat.

Connecting to Shantou across the Queshi Bridge is Queshi (礐石) which had been known by the local people through the 19th century as Kakchio. It was the main site for the American and British Consulates. Today the area is a scenic park but some of the structures are somewhat preserved from its earlier history.

It became a city in 1919, and was separated from Chenghai in 1921. 1922 saw the devastating Swatow Typhoon, which killed 50,000 out of the 65,000 people then inhabiting the city.[1]

In the 1930s, as a transport hub and a merchandise distribution centre in Southeast China, Shantou Port's cargo throughput ranked third in the country.

With higher-level administrative authority, Shantou governed Chaozhou City and Jieyang City from 1983 to 1989.


Shantou is a prefecture-level city. It has direct jurisdiction over six districts and one county.


As of 2003, the district of Haojiang was established out of Hepu and Dahao which had been merged together, and the district of Jinping Shengping and Jinyuan; Waisha and Xinxi Town, part of former Chenghai City, was merged into Longhu District; Chenghai City became Chenghai District; Chaoyang City was divided and became Chaoyang and Chaonan District respectively.



Shantou's economy is medium by the Guangdong standard. Manufacturing accounts for a large and increasing share of employment. Canning, garments, lithography, plastic, and toys are some of the principal products. Toy manufacturing is the city's leading export industry, with 400 million U.S. dollars worth of exports each year.

Guiyu, a populous town in Chaoyang District (潮陽區), is the biggest electronic waste site on earth[2]. Health-environmental issues incurred have concerned international organisations such as Greenpeace.

In 2000, the biggest tax fraud in China's history was uncovered, estimated worthy of 32.3 billion yuan.


Shantou is one of the most densely populated regions in China. Former Chaoyang City was China's most populous county-level administrative region, with 2.4 million inhabitants.

Most residents are linguistically Teochew. There are also Hakka, popularly known as Half-Hakka (半山客), living mainly in Chaoyang District (潮陽區) and Chaonan District (潮南區), although they speak Teochew on a daily basis and practise Teochew culture. Thanks to the Mandarin-medium education system, most people, especially the younger generations, can speak the national dialect fluently.

Governmental statistics show that 2.16 million overseas Chinese have roots in Shantou, with significant populations of Teochew people residing in Thailand and Cambodia. This is demonstrated by the unusually high number of international direct flights between Bangkok and Shantou. In addition, there are at least two Teochew-speaking air hostesses on board each China Southern flight between Shantou and Bangkok.[3] The Teochew presence, furthermore, is evident in Singapore and Malaysia; Johor Bahru, a coastal city situated at the latter's southernmost tip, is known as 'Little Swatow'.

Culture and lifestyle

Shantou people share the same culture with other Teochew. The tea-drinking tradition widely practised in town is a classic instance. According to China Daily,[4] Shantou people "drink more tea than anyone else in China, in total 700 million yuan (US$87.5 million) each year".


Industrial zones

  • Shantou Free Trade Zone


The public hospitals in the Shantou metropolitan area are operated by the Government of Shantou. Management of these hospitals and other specialist health facilities are coordinated by Shantou Board of Health.


The main post office in the old city centre (老市区)

Shantou's electricity is provided entirely by China Southern Power Grid, postal service operated by China Post, and terrestrial and mobile telecommunications services are controlled by China Telecom.

Shantou, is one of the two SMW3 beach-landing points in China, the other being Shanghai.


The private car has matured as a transport option for Shantou residents. However, more still travel by autobikes. Public transportation is provided by bus, ferry and taxi.

The Shantou Waisha Airport (外砂机场) is 13 kilometres away from the city centre and was constructed in 1956. Nearly 2 million people utilise the airport each year. Taxi is the usual way to travel between the airport and the city proper. The taxi fare is around 20–30 RMB. The new Jieyang Chaoshan airport, located in Jiedong County (揭东县) which borders Shantou to the southeast, will be completed in 2011. It is to replace the former by then, providing better services to Chaoshan residents.


  • The Former Residence of Chen Ci Hong (陈慈黉故居 Chencihong Guju)
  • Nan'ao Island (南澳島 Nanao Dao): rated as Guangdong's most beautiful island by China's National Geographic magazine
  • Palace-Temple of Old Mother (老媽宮 Laoma Gong): dedicated to the goddess Matsu
  • Temple of Emperor Guan (關帝廟 Guandi Miao): dedicated to Guan Yu
  • Tropic of Cancer Symbol Tower (北回归线标志塔 Beihuiguixian Biaozhita): The Tropic of Cancer slips through Centipede Mountain, which is 20 kilometers away from the city proper.


Education is overseen provincewide by the Guangdong Education Bureau.

Primary and secondary

Public primary and secondary schools provide education free.

A list of known schools:

  • Shantou Number One Middle School
  • Shantou Experimental School
  • Shantou Number four Middle School
  • Shantou Number ten Middle School
  • Shantou Number two Middle School
  • Shantou Number three Middle School
  • Dahua number one primary school
a rural primary school in Chenghai District

Colleges and universities

Twin towns — sister cities

Shantou is twinned with the following cities: [5]

Country City County/District/Region/State Date
 Japan Kishiwada Osaka Prefecture June 2, 1990[6]
 Canada St.John's Newfoundland and Labrador February 28, 1997[7]
 Vietnam Can Tho Municipality of Vietnam August 1, 2005[8]

Friendly exchanges with the following cities:

Country City County/District/Region/State Date
 South Korea Pyongtaek Gyeonggi-do March 25, 2003[9]
 Australia Fairfield New South Wales April 26, 2005[10]

Prominent people

Many famous Chinese come from Shantou or their ancestral home is Shantou.



Film director

Literary figure


See also


External links

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Shantou, (汕头; Shàntóu; also known as Swatow), is a coastal city and Special Economic Zone in Guangdong Province in China.


The city came to prominence during the 19th-century when it was established as one of the treaty ports for trading with the West, and in the 1980s it was also designated as one of the original Special Economic Zones of the People's Republic of China. Shantou has a population of around 1,500,000.

Overseas visitors are not common in the rural areas around Shantou, and those of non Chinese ethnicity will definitely be an attraction to residents. Those unaccustomed to this may feel intimidated. However, this is a very friendly type of attention, and unless you really dislike interaction with people you don't know, this will almost certainly be a highlight of your trip. Do not be surprised if people want their picture taken with you, or if they yell to friends and family to come look at you as well. Any sort of communication you attempt to make, especially in the local Teo-Chew dialect, will almost always be happily received.

Get in

By plane

The airport which serves Shantou is Shantou Waisha Airport, which has domestic connections with most of the major Chinese cities. It also serves international flights to Hong Kong and Bangkok.

By bus or car

Zhuhai (8 hours, ¥160), Guangzhou, Shenzhen (4-5 hours, ¥150) or Xiamen (4 hours, ¥100). There is fairly new highway that is on par with U.S or European expressways running between Shenzhen and Shantou (and beyond). However, food and gas stops are limited so make sure your gas tank is full if you opt to pass a fueling station. Note that restrooms are far below Western standards as well, particularly if you are female.

Some Hong Kong residents prefer to drive these highways in groups of 3-4 cars, as robberies sometimes take place along the road.

  • The old town, (In the western part of central Shantou). Most of the lovely historic buildings are so dilapidated that it seems like a European city that has been bombed. They are slowly being torn down and replaced with ugly modern buildings, so see it while you can!  edit
  • Shantou Museum, (In a large building near Zhongshan Park). Should be open by now.  edit
  • Buddhist Pagoda Mountain, In Chenhai.  edit
  • Coastal defense fort. There is not much to see here, but you can smell some interesting strains of mold inside, or go rollerskating in the middle of the fort (with Chinese techno music of course).  edit
  • Cultural Revolution Museum (Wenge Bowuguan). A surprisingly candid and straightforward representation of events. This is in the Tashan scenic zone, north of central Shantou, not to be confused with the other Tashan scenic zone, south of central Shantou. Other than a few sculptures, there's not much to see unless you can read Chinese.  edit
  • The former residence of Chen Cihong, (North of central Shantou, if you go by bus, be sure to ask when the last trip back into town is, if you miss it, you might still be able to catch a different bus by walking to the highway). A mansion (or a mini-palace) built in the early 20th century, still pretty much intact.  edit
  • Nan'ao Island.  edit



The hotel directly opposite the bus station is of acceptable standard. Rooms are clean and have TV, air conditioning and bathtub. ¥158 per night.

  • Garden Hotel, Wen Guan Road Cheng Hai, +86 754 5868888. The hotel is rated four stars, but is not on par with the same rank hotels in the West.  edit
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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary


Wikipedia has an article on:






  1. A city in Guangdong province, China.


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