The city of Weifang is located in in the central part of the Shandong Peninsula, halfway between Jinan and Qingdao. It is approximately four hours by train from Beijing and five hours from Shanghai.
The city covers 618 square miles and has 1,521,600 people living in the metro area. Weifang is considered a prefecture-level city which includes four districts, six county-level cities and two counties. At the prefecture-level, Weifang is 6,112 square miles and has a population of 9,086,200.
Weifang’s climate is on the border between humid continental and humid subtropical, with very hot humid summers and cold dry winters (although the average low in February is a balmy 18 degrees Fahrenheit). The springs are short and heat up quickly and temperatures in autumn can drop just as fast as they rise in spring.
The economy in Weifang is not dominated by any one industry. There are various kite, wood cutting, paper cutting and print shops located throughout the city as well as several education centers that employ foreigners to teach English. These education centers are often understaffed so be warned you will probably have people approach you asking if you will come teach at their school on a regular basis.
Weifang Binhai Economic and Technological Development Area (BEDA) is a national economic and technological development area that includes a large portion of state-owned industrial land for development use by enterprises in the area, such as Weichai, a large diesel engine company and factory. One of Weifang’s districts is also home to one of the top five largest sapphire mines in the world.
The 26th Group Army of the People’s Liberation Army is headquaretered in Weifang, which explains why jets often fly over the city. It is one of the three group armies that comprise the Jinan Military Region responsible for defense of the Yellow River Plain.
Weifang is known as the Kite Capital of the world. The city’s rich history in kite making is exhibited at the Weifang World Museum – which houses more than one thousand delicate kites – and the annual kite festival, held every April. Visitors from across the globe come to see Weifang’s kites and learn about kite making.
Weifang’s main shopping area is TaiHua, which features several malls as well as local street food, good restaurants, Pizza Hut and McDonalds. It is right along the river so it is a beautiful walk and is also across the street from Kite Square (a must visit at night-many locals are there singing, dancing, playing cards and just
enjoying a nice night). Other popular shopping areas include the electronics market (there are two), the small goods market (four floors, two blocks long and about everything you can imagine for cheap-you can bargain here too!), Good Shopping Mall (near the university), Walmart (which is in a mall that has a great trinkets store to the left of it), InZone and RT Mart (near Taihua).
Residents of Weifang often speak a regional dialect of Mandarin Chinese, Weifang Hua or Wei Hua. Don’t be surprised if most of the people you meet don’t speak English as Weifang is a relatively small Chinese city with a low number of ex-pats and international students compared to Beijing.
SPR Coffee has free Mandarin lessons one night a week for foreigners, which is a good way to make friends and pick up on the language. SPR Coffee and Starbucks employees speak English so you can get your Caramel Macchiato or Iced Coffee.