Dalian lies at the southern tip of Liaoning Province. It covers a vast area of 12,600 sq. km. with the Yellow Sea to the east and Bohai Sea to the west. With its strategic location, Dalian is one of the largest transportation hubs in northeastern China.
The name "Dalian", meaning "seaside" or "riverside" , was first adopted in 1899. The city was under colonial rule for about half a century, during which numerous Japanese and Russian style buildings were built. By the 1950s, Dalian's economy experienced rapid growth especially in heavy industry. The city became a coastal open-up city in 1984 and a free trade port in 1992, establishing itself as one of China's most prominent trade centers.
Dalian is a major port, industrial, trading and tourist city in northeastern China. It is the production base of some of the largest ship manufacturers and oil refineries in China. In 2006, Dalian was crowned "China's Best Tourist City" by the National Tourism Administration and World Tourism Organization, thanks to the resources invested in boosting its tourism industry. Dalian Port, which serves as an important gateway of Northeast Asia, ranked among the top 20 in the first Global International Shipping-Center Index released in 2010. Economically vibrant, the city recorded a 14% year-on-year GDP growth in 2011, while investment in fixed assets amounted to RMB458 billion, a 30% increase from the previous year. With great development potential, the city took fifteenth place in the 2011 China Overall Urban Competitiveness Ranking issued by the China Institute of City Competitiveness.
Source: Dalian Government Office, National Bureau of Statistics (2011 data)