Located on the Bohai Gulf 120 km/75mi southeast of Beijing, the port city of Tianjin has become northern China's most important commercial and trading center. It boasts northern China's largest container terminal, competing with Hong Kong in terms of the volume of freight it handles. The Beijing-Shenyang and Beijing-Shanghai railroads converge here, and Tianjin's airport is China's largest air freight handling center, as well as serving as Beijing's second airport.
Tianjin's climate is similar to that of Beijing with warm summers and cold winters. The port is usually frozen over for several months in winter. It provides acceptable housing and other amenities for the expatriate staff of its foreign investors.
Formerly known as Tientsin, Tianjin is one of the four municipalities (Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin, and Chongqing) directly under the central government of the People's Republic of China and is one of the largest cities in China, after Shanghai and Beijing.
The city (population about 10 million), is divided into 18 districts and counties: six city districts (Heping, Hexi, Hebei, Hedong, Nankai and Hongqiao), four adjacent town districts (Dongli, Xiqing, Jinnan and Beichen), three seashore districts (Tanggu, Hangu and Dagang) and five counties (Wuqing, Ji, Ninghe, Baodi and Jinghai).
In recent years, the government's more open economic policies have encouraged more than 6,000 foreign-owned enterprises to register in Tianjin. It is also home to a thriving petrochemical industry as well as other substantial industrial developments, producing heavy and light industrial goods ranging from cars to electronics, steel to chemicals. More and more foreigners are moving either into Tianjin or the neighboring TEDA (Tianjin Economic Development Area).
Service industries abound, with over 1000 financial institutions including several branches of foreign banks, over 60 stock broking or trading companies, as well as many accounting, legal and consulting firms. Like many other cities in China, Tianjin is undergoing a major face lift, including an extension of the road and train networks and subway, additional lines for which are underway.
Tianjin Olympic Stadium was the site of football games during the 2008 Olympics. Prior to that, the 2007 FIFA Women's World Cup was held at the newly built stadium, which seats 60,000 spectators.