Located on the Yellow River's southern bank, Zhengzhou is a sprawling metropolis and one of China's National Central Cities. Essentially, these core cities lead regional urban clusters and drive the country's economic strategy. Zhengzhou is a key commercial hub in Central China, just as Beijing is important in the east, and Chengdu in the west.
Mining, agriculture and manufacturing are the city's main industries. On the mining front, the region has large reserves of natural resources, with coal- and mineral mining and electricity generation sustaining the local economy. Its principal agricultural products include maize, apples, cotton and tobacco, while its footprint is very clear within China's manufacturing sector.
More specifically, it's been one of the country's major industrial cities since 1949, and today has a sizable network of tech parks and industrial zones. The city has large operations in IT, aviation, biomedicine, e-commerce and automotive production, and is home to 'iPhone City', the world's largest smartphone production site.
Strategically speaking, Zhengzhou is the capital of Henan Province and the Central Plains Economic Zone's core area. The provincial and national governments view it as their chief touchpoint within the region, whether the conversation revolves around politics, economics, education or technology. The city is also an important transport hub for rail, airlines and highways in China. Its local network of buses, taxis and metro lines is excellent too, but drivers are unlikely to speak English so travellers should ask hotel staff to write down important addresses in Mandarin.
Aside from business, Zhengzhou's appeal lies in its rich history, which includes being capital of the Shang dynasty (1700 -1100 BC). Though many of its historical sights didn't survive heavy bombing in the war against Japan, it still boasts incredible cultural and historical attractions. These include visiting the Shaolin Temple, which is a centuries-old Buddhist and martial arts institution, and touring the Yellow River, known as the 'cradle of Chinese civilisation'. Travellers can also see Songshan, which is one of China's five most famous mountains.