My hometown Hangzhou is known as “paradise on earth.” An ancient Chinese saying says: “Above there is heaven; below there is Hangzhou.”
Anyone who has visited Hangzhou is impressed by its scenic beauty. A mirror-like lake, called West Lake, is nested in lush hills, like jade carved into green velvet. Along the lake are peach and willow trees, wavering and whispering in gentle breeze.
In the springtime, when the peach trees are blossoming with pink and white flowers in between the green willows, West Lake looks like a cheerful bride ready to wed. A pagoda, named Precious Stone Pagoda, stands on the top of the hills at the north side of the lake, as if a faithful guard watching out for his bride.
Hangzhou is also a historical city. It served as the capital of China in Song Dynasty (960-1279). In the 13th century, Marco Polo traveled to Hangzhou – the center of trade and culture during that time, and wrote elaborately in his journals about West Lake. He considered Hangzhou as “the most beautiful and splendid city in the world.”
Throughout history, Hangzhou has inspired poets, artists, philosophers and politicians. Many of them had left mesmerizing poems about West Lake. A classical poem by Su Shi, a renowned poet in Song Dynasty, says it all:
The brimming waves delight the eyes on sunny days;If comparing The West Lake to the Beauty of West Shi,
The dimming hills present rare views in raining haze.
It becomes her to be adorned in either ways.
Today, Hangzhou has renewed itself into a center for technology and entrepreneurship. With a population of seven million, Hangzhou accounted for 20 percent of the province’s GDP, 30 percent of its imports and 17 percent of foreign investment.
A recent survey by Forbes reveals that Hangzhou scored the highest on the list of “the top ten best places for business,” before Shanghai and Beijing.
It is a base for global manufacturers such as Motorola, Siemens, and Toshiba. It has several of the most successful homegrown companies – the biggest auto parts maker Wan-Xiang, soft drinks group Wahaha, and Internet company Alibaba.