Capital of Gansu province, China, on the Huang He River, 190 km/120 mi south of the Great Wall; population (2010) 2,428,600. The city is the centre of a major industrial area, whose industries include oil-refining and the manufacture of chemicals (including petrochemicals), fertilizers, locomotives and rolling stock, machinery, textiles, and synthetic rubber.
Location and communications Situated on the Huang He and encircled by high mountains, Lanzhou has long been important for its strategic position on the route to Central Asia through the Gansu Corridor. It sits on the crossroads of two major road and rail routes: China's principal east–west route from Jiangsu to Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region and Kazakhstan; and a north–south route from Qinghai to Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region and Inner Mongolia. Lanzhou has also developed into an important regional centre for air transport.
Economy A natural distribution centre for China's northwestern provinces, Lanzhou has experienced considerable industrial growth resulting from communist government policies of industrial dispersal. After 1952, when it was connected by rail to the remainder of China, a number of large industrial schemes took place, including the construction of a fertilizer plant, a synthetic rubber factory, and an aluminium reduction plant. With the development of the Yumen oil-fields to the northwest, a significant oil-refining industry also grew up at Lanzhou. Nearby coalmines supply fuel for the city's electricity requirements, which are supplemented by hydroelectricity generated on the Huang He River. In the late 20th century Lanzhou developed as a leading centre of the Chinese nuclear energy industry.
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