Shandong (山东) is a coastal province of China and it has played an important role in Chinese history since the beginning of Chinese civilization. The province is the cultural and religious centre for Taoism, Chinese Buddhism and Confucianism. The Buddhist temples in Jinan were once among the foremost Buddhist sites in China. Moreover, the city of Qufu is the birthplace of Confucius and was established as the centre of Confucianism.
Individually, the two Chinese characters in the name “Shandong” mean “mountain” and “east”, so the province could be translated literally as “east of the mountains “and refers to the province’s location to the east of the Taihang Mountains. Confucianism developed from what was later called the Hundred Schools of Thought by Confucius himself.
The northwestern, western, and southwestern areas of Shandong are all part of the vast North China Plain. The province’s centre is more mountainous, in the east of the province there is the Shandong Peninsula which extends into the sea; it separates the Bohai Sea in the northwest from the Yellow Sea to the east and south.
Shandong’s location at the intersection of ancient and modern north-south and east-west trading routes has helped establish it as an economic center. After a period of political and economic instability that began in the late 19th century, Shandong has experienced rapid growth in recent decades. In fact, it ranks first among the provinces in the production of cotton, wheat, and garlic as well as precious metals such as gold and diamonds. It also has one of the biggest sapphire deposits in the world and extensive petroleum deposits as well, especially in the Dongying area, where the Shengli Oil Field is one of the major oilfields of China.
Shandong is the biggest industrial producer and one of the top manufacturing provinces in China, as well as one of the richest, meanwhile, its economic development focuses on large enterprises with well-known brand names. The richest part of the province is the Shandong Peninsula, where the city of Qingdao is home to three of the most well-known brand names of China: Tsingtao Beer, Haier and Hisense.
In 2011, the nominal GDP for Shandong was ¥4.50 trillion (US$711 billion), ranking third in the country (behind Guangdong and Jiangsu), while its GDP per capita was ¥42,014 (US$6,365), ranking eighth.
Credits to: Tong Yao