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2014 Nantong

China’s ‘Textile City’ wears it well

Updated: 2014-05-09
By Devon Zhang (chinadaily.com.cn)

Located in the north of the Yangtze River estuary, Nantong is a city in China’s Jiangsu province. Nantong has a long history, with human habitation going back as long as 5,000 years. It was called Hudouzhou before Sui dynasty. In 958 AD, its name was changed to Tongzhou.

Nantong deserves its reputation as being the "pioneering city of modern China". More than 100 years ago, a famous industrialist and educator named Zhang Jian undertook the reconstruction of the city with an aim to uphold tradition and usher in modern notions. With the original downtown area in the center, he designed a unique layout for the new city featuring "one city, three towns, and urban areas dispersed in and surrounded by countryside".

Since ancient times, the area has been famous for weaving cloth on looms. Zhang Jian, who was the pioneer of China's modern textile industry, laid the foundation for the emergence of the industry in Nantong. In 1895, Zhang Jian founded the Dasheng Cotton Mill. In 1912, he founded the Textile Institute. Later, he established the first textile materials supply base in China. What he accomplished in Nantong made important contributions to the nation’s overall textile industry.

With China’s development and opening up, people in Nantong built a textile market on the border of Tongzhou and Haimen counties. It was a very simple market in the beginning, where local people sold their homemade beddings. With the development of Nantong's traditional trade, the modern textile industry became the city’s pillar industry. As an internationally competitive industry, the trade significantly improved the livelihood of local people. Two modern textile markets -- China Dieshiqiao International Home Textile Market and the China Textile Market of Nantong - evolved from early beginnings as street vendors. Centering on these two markets, more than ten towns formed a industrial cluster. Nantong has now become one of the three major textile centers of the world along with New York in the US and Frankfurt in Germany.

Video: Devon Zhang
Translator: Devon Zhang
Producer: Flora Yue

2014 Nantong

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