Maanshan, a city on the south bank of the Yangtze River in Anhui province, has come a long way from a sleepy, humble village with just a handful of families to a bustling economic center on the Yangtze River Delta.
It only became a city officially in October 1956. But, after half a century's development, it has landed on the top 100 Chinese cities list, quite a leap from the not too distant past.
Part of the reason is that this prefecture-level city borders Nanjing - the capital of prosperous Jiangsu province - and provides a connection between the eastern seaboard and places farther inland.
It also sits on the doorstep of the Industrial Transfer Demonstration Zone in the Anhui Yangtze River City Belt.
Maanshan means "Horse saddle Mountain" in Chinese. A legend has it this way: Xiang Yu, a prominent military leader and political figure in the late Qin Dynasty (221-206 BC) killed himself after losing a battle in this area. His beloved, faithful horse was so grief-stricken that it leapt into the river and drowned. As a tribute, a boatman buried the saddle on a nearby hill, hence the name.
Today's Maanshan comprises three county-level districts and one county on a 1,686-sq-km area, with a population of 1.3 million. Its forestry rate is 66 percent.
It has one of the best economic indexes - revenue and income of urban and rural people - in Anhui province. In 2010, the annual income of urbanites was more than 23,000 yuan ($3,535), and of farmers, 9,300 yuan.
The city has won many awards for its environmental, tourism, forestry, scientific, education, investment and foreign trades achievements.
Its location has played no small part in that development. It is a mere 28 km from Nanjing Lukou International Airport, about a 40-minute drive. When another expressway is completed in the latter half of this year, that driving time will be cut to 25 minutes.
The Nanjing station on the Shanghai-Nanjing high-speed railway is less than 20 km from Maanshan, and a railway line connecting Anhui and Jiangsu is under construction. When that is finished, it will only take 15 minutes to get to Nanjing, one and half an hours to Shanghai, and three to Beijing. One riverside line crossing the city now gets people from Maanshan to Hangzhou, and to Shanghai in just three hours.
A bridge across the Yangtze River is under construction and scheduled for completion by the end of 2012. This will make travel to neighboring cities much more convenient.
Maanshan is now one of the 10 biggest ports on the Yangtze River and one of the first of 63 ports to get government approved to ship directly to Taiwan.
Industry accounts for more than 60 percent of the city's economy, the major industries being steel, automobiles, equipment, electric energy, fine chemicals, and food processing.
More interesting perhaps is the fact that Maanshan is not lacking in education resources, with six colleges and universities, three State-level science institutes, four State-level research centers, one State-level technology center, four major labs, and two post-doctoral research and development centers.
Maanshan has been honored as a scientific pioneer, six times, and has become a pilot for implementing intellectual property rights laws. Science and technology contribute 45 percent to the city's economic growth.
Investment and development opportunities in the city get good backing from the social security situation, and increased cooperation with foreign countries and regions.