Changchun: 'City on wheels' revs up

By Liu Ning, Zhang Kaiwei, Su Yingxiang, Oliver Fritzsch, Song Ge, Sun Hongyu (People's Daily Online) 16:41, August 28, 2023

Known as the "Detroit of China" or "City of Automobiles," Changchun, located in northeast China's Jilin Province, has long been recognized as a hub for industrial development and technological innovation. The city is a bustling metropolis that embodies the region's rich history, cultural heritage, and rapid modernization. Today, it thrives as an economic powerhouse while preserving its unique charm.

Drone photo taken on June 13, 2023 shows the skyline of Changchun, northeast China's Jilin Province. (People's Daily Online/Liu Ning)

With its flourishing automotive industry, technological advancements, cultural renaissance, and commitment to ecological sustainability, Changchun showcases what northeast China has to offer. Nestled amidst a picturesque landscape, Changchun stands as a captivating city that seamlessly weaves together a tapestry of history, innovation, and natural beauty.

Auto industry upholds Changchun's iconic status

Drone photo taken on June 12, 2023 shows the views of Changchun International Automobile Park in Changchun, northeast China's Jilin Province. (People's Daily Online/Zhang Kaiwei)

"The automobile has become an integral part of Changchun's culture," a local resident of Changchun commented. The city boasts a comprehensive automobile industry system, and the sector stands as the city's pillar industry. Statistics show that the automobile industry in Changchun achieved an output value of 614.3 billion yuan ($85 billion) in 2021, accounting for 70.3 percent of the city's total industrial output value.

Changchun's ascent as an automotive hub can be traced back to the establishment of the First Automobile Works (FAW) Group Corporation in 1953. FAW, one of China's largest automobile manufacturers, is headquartered in Changchun and has played a pivotal role in shaping the city's automotive landscape. Over the years, FAW has established partnerships with renowned international carmakers like Volkswagen and Audi, encouraging technological collaborations and fostering the exchange of industry expertise. Furthermore, the Changchun Automobile Economic and Technological Development Zone provides robust support to the city's automobile industry in terms of policy support, talent acquisition, logistics, and more.

Photo taken on June 14, 2023, shows cars in the FAW-Volkswagen Automotive Co., Ltd. factory in Changchun, northeast China's Jilin Province. (People's Daily Online/Sun Hongyu)

Changchun's auto industry has quickly adapted to the global shift towards electric and autonomous vehicles. In recent years, the city has witnessed a surge in the production of electric vehicles (EVs) as the Chinese government encourages the adoption of clean energy transportation.

Photo taken on June 14, 2023, shows an automated production line in FAW-Hongqi Prosperity Factory in Changchun, northeast China's Jilin Province. (People's Daily Online/Liu Ning)

As the world transitions towards a future of electric and autonomous vehicles, Changchun is well-positioned to engage in the auto industry. With a robust ecosystem, technological expertise, and a drive for innovation, the city is poised to shape the future of transportation, both within China and on the global stage.

Trains emerge as spotlight attractions in the city

Photo taken on June 12, 2023, shows high-speed trains on assembly lines in CRRC Changchun Railway Vehicles Co., Ltd in Changchun, northeast China's Jilin Province. (People's Daily Online/Zhang Kaiwei)

According to Statistic Bureau of Jilin, in 2022, Changchun produced 168 electric multiple units (EMUs) and 2,034 urban rail trains. The city's involvement in the train industry can be traced back several decades when it emerged as a rail manufacturing and research center. China Railway Rolling Stock Corporation (CRRC) Changchun Railway Vehicles Co., Ltd. has been instrumental in establishing the city as a hub for train production. Since its inception, the company has developed and manufactured a diverse range of rolling stock, including high-speed trains, metro trains, and locomotives.

A notable achievement for Changchun is its significant contribution to China's high-speed rail network. The city's state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities have played a crucial role in producing high-speed trains that have transformed transportation within China. Changchun's expertise in this domain has culminated in the production of iconic models like the "Fuxing," celebrated for their exceptional speed, advanced safety features, and unparalleled passenger comfort.

Photo taken on June 12, 2023, shows a winter sports-themed "Fuxing" high-speed train at CRRC Changchun Railway Vehicles Co., Ltd. in Changchun, northeast China's Jilin Province. (People's Daily Online/Liu Ning)

In recent years, Changchun has proactively sought international collaborations to bolster its footprint in the global train market. The city has forged partnerships with esteemed international rail manufacturers and engaged in joint ventures to capitalize on collective expertise and resources. These collaborative ventures have enabled technology transfers, facilitated the exchange of knowledge, and led to the development of top-tier train systems.

Not only has Changchun's train industry enhanced domestic transportation, but it has also been instrumental in furthering China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). With its prowess in crafting trains adaptable to diverse terrains and climates, Changchun has emerged as one of the go-to suppliers for rail projects in BRI participant countries. Consequently, Changchun-made trains are finding their way to various nations, aiding in rejuvenating rail infrastructure and promoting international ties.

Local film industry reveals city's deep cultural roots

Photo taken on June 15, 2023, shows the Former Site Museum of Changchun Film Studio in Changchun, northeast China's Jilin Province. (People's Daily Online/Liu Ning)

With its rich history of film production, Changchun remains a thriving center of creativity and cultural expression. Celebrated as the birthplace of China's movie industry, Changchun has been pivotal in molding the nation's cinematic landscape, nurturing artistic talent, and safeguarding its cultural heritage.

The roots of Changchun's cinematic heritage trace back to 1945 with the establishment of the Changchun Film Studio, heralding the inception of China's film industry. This studio became the birthplace of numerous iconic films that won the affection of audiences nationwide. This early triumph positioned Changchun as a leading hub for filmmaking, radiating cultural significance across the country.

The city's dedication to nurturing art and culture shines through its dynamic film scene. The Changchun Film Studio, rebranded as the Changchun Film Group Corporation, remains a cornerstone of the industry. It consistently delivers films that reflect the nation's rich cultural tapestry and evolving stories. This institution has been instrumental in creating influential movies that have resonated with audiences both in China and abroad.

In the present day, Changchun's film domain thrives, attracting filmmakers, performers, and enthusiasts from around the globe. The city takes pride in hosting the annual Changchun Film Festival — a revered event that celebrates the art of cinema and showcases a tapestry of diverse films. This festival is a platform for emerging talent, encouraging dialogue, and fostering collaborations within the film community.

Night markets showcase Changchun's vibrant spirit

Photo taken on June 12, 2023, shows a shopping mall in Changchun, northeast China's Jilin Province. (People's Daily Online/Zhang Kaiwei)

As the sun sets and neon lights illuminate the streets in color, Changchun's night market comes alive, transforming into a bustling hub of activity. Both locals and tourists congregate here, keen to embark on a memorable culinary journey.

Changchun's vitality doesn't fade after sunset; instead, its night markets pulsate with even more energy. A trove of diverse flavors, sights, and sounds, the markets are havens for food lovers and cultural hotspots that showcase the city's gastronomic heritage.

Photo taken on June 14, 2023, shows the snacks at a night market in Changchun, northeast China's Jilin Province. (People's Daily Online/Zhang Kaiwei)

A stroll through the market is incomplete without savoring Changchun's famous kebabs — a must-try for meat lovers. The aroma of meat sizzling on grills, infused with distinctive spices, beckons every passerby to sample this local specialty.

For those seeking a taste of regional flavors, Jilin-style dishes are plentiful. These culinary treasures echo Jilin Province's age-old recipes, allowing visitors to experience the authentic flavors of the region.

Photo taken on June 14, 2023, shows a night market in Changchun, northeast China's Jilin Province. (People's Daily Online/Zhang Kaiwei)

Beyond the gastronomic delights, Changchun's night market is a feast for the senses. The market is adorned with vibrant decorations, colorful lanterns, and twinkling lights, creating a lively and enchanting ambiance that adds to the overall experience.

As Changchun's night market continues to evolve and grow, it remains an integral part of the city's identity. It showcases the rich flavors, age-old traditions, and warm hospitality that make the city a must-visit destination for food enthusiasts and cultural explorers. Delve into the bustling streets, follow your senses, and embark on a culinary adventure that will leave you craving more.

In recent years, Changchun has channeled significant resources into infrastructural enhancements and judicious urban planning. The city's efficient public transportation system, including an extensive network of buses and a growing subway system, makes commuting convenient for its residents. Changchun's modern skyline is adorned with towering skyscrapers, complemented by well-designed parks and green spaces that offer a respite from city life.

Fueled by a dynamic economy, rich cultural roots, and a visionary approach to development, Changchun continues to thrive as a city that blends tradition with progress. As the city gazes ahead, it's primed to further China's growth story and leave an indelible mark on the global stage.

(Web editor: Zhang Wenjie, Wu Chengliang)


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