Henan, with an area of 167,000 km², is the most populous Chinese province with a population of about 97.2m (or about 7% that of the entire China). Home to 3 of the 7 ancient cities of China with a rich historical past, it is the cradle of Chinese civilization.
Located in the central region of China and supported by an established transport network of highways and railway system, Henan is a key transportation hub of China with well-connections to other parts of China. It is strategically intersected at its provincial capital � Zhengzhou - by the principal north-south railroad line and highway which connects Beijing to Zhuhai, and the east-west railroad line and highway which interlink Shanghai to Urmuqi.
With its cities undergoing rapid urbanization, Henan's rate of urbanization grew impressively from 19.6% in 1997 to 28.9% in 2004. Consistently ranked among the top 5 GDP provinces of China over the past 3 years, Henan's GDP more than doubled from Rmb408 billion in 1997 to Rmb882 billion in 2004.
Henan's economic growth is propelled mainly by its agricultural produce (grain, cotton, meat etc.), heavy industries (chemicals, tractor plants etc.), natural resources (coal, aluminum, iron etc.) and property development (particularly residential properties). The rapid growth of the provincial economy has resulted in a significant improvement in living standards, with the disposal income per capita of urban residents in Henan rising almost 1.9 times from Rmb4,094 in 1997 to Rmb7,705 in 2004.