Hangzhou is the capital and most populous city of Zhejiang Province in east China. It sits at the head of Hangzhou Bay, which separates Shanghai and Ningbo. Hangzhou grew to prominence as the southern terminus of the Grand Canal and has been one of the most renowned and prosperous cities in China for much of the last millennium. The city's West Lake, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, immediately west of the city, is amongst its best-known attractions. Hangzhou is classified as a sub-provincial city and forms the core of the Hangzhou metropolitan area, the fourth-largest in China. During the 2010 Chinese census, the metropolitan area held 21.102 million people over an area of 34,585 km2. Hangzhou had a registered population of 9,018,000 in 2015. In September 2015, Hangzhou was awarded the 2022 Asian Games. It will be the third Chinese city to play host to the Asian Games after Beijing 1990 and Guangzhou 2010. Hangzhou, an emerging technology hub and home to the e-commerce giant Alibaba, also hosted the eleventh G-20 summit in 2016.
Hangzhou is one of the seven ancient capitals of China and the first batch of national historical and cultural city and national key scenic tourist cities. The Yuhang Liangzhu culture from 5000 years ago is known as the "dawn of civilization”. The city has a history of 2200 years since the Qin Dynasty set up the county. The Italian traveler, Marco Polo praised Hangzhou for being the "most beautiful and luxurious city in the world”. Hangzhou is the host city for the World Leisure Expo, China International Animation Festival and China International Film Festival, and is one of the main Chinese Exhibition Cities. Hangzhou's culture can be traced back to the "Kuahuqiao culture" from about 8000 years ago. Hangzhou has two national scenic areas - West Lake scenic area and the "Two Rivers and Two Lakes" (Fuchun River - Xin'An River - Qiandao Lake – Xianghu Lake) scenic area; two national nature reserves - Tianmu Mountain and Qingliangfeng Nature Reserve; seven national forest parks - Qiandao Lake, Daqishan, Wuchaoshan, the Fuchun River, Castle Lake, and mid Tonglu Yaolin Forest Park; a national tourist resort - Zhijiang National Tourist Resort area; the country's first National Wetland - Xixi National Wetland park. Hangzhou has 25 national key cultural relic protection units and 9 national museums.
Hangzhou's economy has rapidly developed since its opening up in 1992. It is an industrial city with many diverse sectors such as light industry, agriculture, and textiles. It is considered an important manufacturing base and logistics hub for coastal China. The 2001 GDP of Hangzhou was RMB ¥156.8 billion, which ranked second among all of the provincial capitals after Guangzhou. The city has more than tripled its GDP since then, increasing from RMB ¥156.8 billion in 2001 to RMB ¥1.105 trillion in 2016 and GDP per capita increasing from US$3,025 to US$18,282. The city has developed many new industries, including medicine, information technology, heavy equipment, automotive components, household electrical appliances, electronics, telecommunication, fine chemicals, chemical fibre and food processing. Hangzhou's climate is humid subtropical with four distinctive seasons, characterised by long, very hot, humid summers and chilly, cloudy and drier winters (with occasional snow). The mean annual temperature is 17.0 °C, with monthly daily averages ranging from 4.6 °C in January to 28.9 °C in July. The city receives an average annual rainfall of 1,438.0 mm and is affected by the plum rains of the Asian monsoon in June. In late summer (August to September), Hangzhou suffers typhoon storms, but typhoons seldom strike it directly.