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Hangzhou (Chinese: 杭州, Hangzhounese pronunciation: [ɦɑ̃.tse], Standard Mandarin pronunciation: [xǎŋ.ʈʂóu] (About this soundlisten)), also romanized as Hangchow, is the capital and most populous city of Zhejiang, People’s Republic of China. It sits at the head of Hangzhou Bay, which separates Shanghai and Ningbo. Hangzhou grew to prominence as the southern terminus of the Grand Canal and has been one of China’s most renowned and prosperous cities for much of the last millennium. Its West Lake, a UNESCO World Heritage site immediately west of the city, is among its best-known attractions. A study conducted by PwC and China Development Research Foundation ranked Hangzhou first among “Chinese Cities of Opportunity”. According to GaWC, it is a World City with a “Beta” classification, together with Chongqing, Nanjing and Tianjin in China. It is also one of the world’s top 100 financial centers, according to the Global Financial Centres Index.
Hangzhou is classified as a sub-provincial city and forms the core of the Hangzhou metropolitan area, the fourth-largest in China. During the 2010 Chinese census, the metropolitan area held 21.102 million people over an area of 34,585 km2 (13,353 sq mi). Hangzhou Prefecture had a registered population of 10,360,000 in 2019.
Hangzhou has been repeatedly rated as the best commercial city in mainland China by Forbes. Home to the headquarters of world Internet industry leaders such as the Alibaba Group, Hangzhou is known for attracting professionals and entrepreneurs who work in information technology. Since 2014, its rapid population growth has led to a steady increase in local housing prices. According to the 2020 Hurun Global Rich List, Hangzhou ranks 11th in the world and 6th in China (after Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Shenzhen and Guangzhou) in the number of resident billionaires.
Hangzhou is also one of the world’s top cities for scientific research, ranked 26th globally by the Nature Index as of 2020. It has several major universities, notably Zhejiang University, one of China’s most prestigious universities.
In September 2015, Hangzhou was awarded the 2022 Asian Games. It will be the third Chinese city to host the Asian Games, after Beijing 1990 and Guangzhou 2010. Hangzhou also hosted the 11th G20 summit in 2016.