The Yangtze River Delta Region is one of China’s most developed regions, and the city of Kunshan lies right in its heart. To its east, there’s Shanghai, a large international metropolis. To its west, there’s Suzhou, one of the country’s most renowned cultural and historic cities. This enviable location lets Kunshan provide its residents with geographic convenience, a well-developed infrastructure, and a unique living experience that combines culture and modernity. While studying here, you’ll experience firsthand how cities transform—Kunshan has grown from a small, ancient Chinese town to a manufacturing hub. And its growth hasn’t ended yet. Kunshan is ambitiously reemerging as a global high-tech center.
With an average GDP per capita of 29,957 USD in 2015, Kunshan is considered the richest county-level city in China. Kunshan is home to more than 6,000 foreign-funded projects from 65 countries and regions around the world. After decades of development, a complete industrial chain has formed. It includes software, integrated circuitry, flat-panel displays, computer and network equipment, and communication technology. This sizable foreign capital inducement has drawn a large amount of immigrants, increasing the city’s regional demand for goods. In turn, this has been a driving force behind the local development of retail, food and beverage, and service industries.
Kunshan’s economic development is experiencing an upward trend in the value chain. In 2010, the Kunshan New and High-Tech Industrial Development Zone was promoted as a national high-tech zone. Since then, it has attracted an influx of high-tech enterprises and emerging industries, including digital equipment and biopharmaceutical industries, such as robot and siRNA manufacturing.
Kunshan is considered a successful model of China’s social and economic development, and for good reason. It provides you a glimpse into the vibrant changes that are happening right now in China.
While Kunshan has experienced tremendous economic growth, city residents also enjoy and preserve its rich cultural and historical resources. Kunqu Opera, one of the oldest forms of Chinese opera, originated in Kunshan and is now listed by UNESCO as a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. Zhouzhuang, Jinxi, and Qiandeng, three of Kunshans ancient water towns, are among China’s nominations for inclusion in UNESCO’s World Heritage List.
Rapid advances in rail traffic has brought Kunshan’s people much closer to surrounding areas: the high-speed train reaches Shanghai and Suzhou within 20 minutes, and Shanghai’s No.11 subway has already extended to Kunshan’s Huaqiao area. Take a high-speed train, and you can get to Nanjing in 1.5 hours, or the capital city of Beijing in 5 hours.
The Duke Kunshan campus is about a 20-30 minute drive from the Kunshan South Railway Station, which is also accessible via many public buses and the free Duke Kunshan campus shuttle bus. In addition, the city’s convenient bike rental system gives you quick and easy access to bicycles located throughout the city.
Kunshan is about a 2-hour drive away from Shanghai Pudong International Airport and a 1-hour drive away from Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport.