The Port of Qingdao (also spelled Tsingtao) rests at the entrance to Jiaozhou Bay on the south coast of Shadong Peninsula overlooking the Yellow Sea in eastern China. The Port of Qingdao is located some 94 nautical miles northeast of the Port of Liayungang and about 300 nautical miles west-southwest of the Port of Incheon in South Korea. Offering one of northern China's best natural harbors, the bay is open year-round for large vessels. The Port of Qingdao is an important cultural center with several important universities. It is also a major center for marine sciences and technology. In 2007, over 2.8 million people lived in the urban area surrounding the Port of Qingdao.
In 1984, the government of the People's Republic of China named part of Qingdao a Special Economic and Technology Development Zone, supporting the city's growth with secondary and tertiary industries. As one of China's fourteen open cities, the Port of Qingdao supports a local economy that thrives on international trade and foreign investments. Japan and South Korea have made significant investments in the city, and about 80 thousand South Korean citizens live there. The hinterlands of the Port of Qingdao contain more than 20 hectares of arable land, so agriculture is an important part of the regional economy. Marine resources like fish, shrimp, and other ocean products are also important to the economy. Minerals mines and paper mills also contribute. The Port of Qingdao is home to three industrial zones: Qingdao Economic and Technological Development Area, Qingdao Free Trade Zone, and Qingdao High-tech Industrial Zone.
Humans have lived in the area of the Port of Qingdao for at least six thousand years. One of China's first peoples, the Dongyi, lived here and established the Dongyeshi, Longshan, and Dawenkou cultures. Before the 17th Century, the Port of Qingdao was little more than a small fishing village. Under the Qing Dynasty (1891), the Port of Qingdao was called Jiao-ao.
In 1891, the Qing Dynasty government began to improve the fortifications at the Port of Qingdao, making it a defensive base against possible naval attacks. Unfortunately, the German navy overcame these defenses, and Jiaozhou Bay was ceded to Germany in 1898.
The German occupiers transformed the poor fishing village into an important port and based their Far East Squadron in the Port of Qingdao where their ships could operate throughout the Pacific region. They made the Port of Qingdao a free port in 1899. The German government built the first streets and infrastructure for the city and introduced electricity, a sewer system, and a supply for healthy drinking water. German merchants established the Tsingtao Brewery and many other commercial ventures throughout the province.
Before World War I began, German naval vessels gathered in the Marianas to return to Germany before they could be trapped by the Allies. After Japan declared war on Germany as part of the Anglo-Japanese Alliance (and to take the Port of Qingdao), the Japanese occupied the Port of Qingdao and surrounding area during the Siege of Tsingtao and held it until 1922.
The Port of Qingdao returned to Chinese rule in 1922 as part of the Republic of China, and it became a directly-controlled municipality under the national government in 1929. In 1938, the Japanese again occupied the Port of Qingdao as it invaded the Republic of China at the beginning of World War II. During Japanese occupation, new industries were developed. The Japanese established cotton mills, train works, engineering shops, repair facilities, and factories manufacturing chemicals, matches, rubber, beer, and dyestuffs.
When World War II ended, the Chinese Nationalist Party allowed the US Navy's Western Pacific Fleet to use the Port of Qingdao as its headquarters; however, the Red Army entered the city in 1949, and the Port of Qingdao has been under the control of the People's Republic of China since then, and it has become a center for heavy industries like iron and steel.
In 1984, China began its open-door policy and named the Port of Qingdao as one of its 14 open cities, opening the door to foreign investment and trade and locating its own navy's northern fleet there. In 1984, three US Navy ships visited the Port of Qingdao, making the first US port call to China in over 37 years.
Today, the Port of Qingdao is an important manufacturing center. The city is undergoing a period of rapid growth, with a new central business district added to the older business district. A large industrial zone is located outside the Port of Qingdao's city center. The industrial zone includes facilities that process chemicals and manufacture rubber and heavy machinery. There is also a blossoming high-tech industry in the industrial zone.