Hainan (UK: /hˈnæn/, US: /-nɑːn/;[5] 海南) is the smallest and southernmost province of the People's Republic of China (PRC), consisting of various islands in the South China Sea. Hainan Island, the largest and most populous island in China,[note 1] makes up the vast majority (97%) of the province. "Hainan", the name of the island and the province, literally means "south of the sea", reflecting its position south of the Qiongzhou Strait, which separates it from Guangdong's Leizhou Peninsula and the rest of the Chinese mainland. In the Chinese language, Hainan is officially known as Hainan Dao.

Hainan Province
Name transcription(s)
  Chinese海南省 (Hǎinán Shěng)
  AbbreviationHI / (pinyin: Qióng; Jyutping: king4; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: khêng)
  Yue JyutpingHoi2 Naam4 Saang2
Landscape of Sanya Nanshan Dongtian Park
Map showing the location of Hainan Island, the main constituent of Hainan Province
Coordinates: 19°12′N 109°42′E
Named for, hǎi: "sea"
, nán: "south"
"South of the Sea [Qiongzhou Strait]"
(and largest city)
Divisions4 prefectures, 25 counties, 218 townships
  BodyHainan Provincial People's Congress
  CCP SecretaryShen Xiaoming
  Congress chairmanShen Xiaoming
  GovernorFeng Fei
  CPPCC chairmanMao Wanchun
  Total35,191 km2 (13,587 sq mi)
Area rank28th
Highest elevation1,840 m (6,040 ft)
  Density290/km2 (740/sq mi)
  Density rank17th
  Ethnic compositionHan: 82.6%
Li: 15.84%
Miao: 0.82%
Zhuang: 0.67%
  Languages and dialectsMandarin Chinese, Hainanese, Yue, Lingao, Hakka, Hlai, Miao, Tsat
ISO 3166 codeCN-HI
GDP (2020)CNY 553 billion
USD 80 billion (31st)[3]
 - per capitaCNY 54,878
USD 7,953 (25th)
 • growth 3.5%
HDI (2018)0.750[4] (high) (19th)
WebsiteEnglish Chinese
Hainan Island
Native name:
LocationEast Asia
Area33,210 km2 (12,820 sq mi)
Area rank42nd
Length156 km (96.9 mi)
Width170 km (106 mi)
Highest elevation1,840 m (6040 ft)
Highest pointWuzhi Mountain
People's Republic of China
Largest settlementHaikou (pop. 2,873,358)
Populationc. 8,180,000
Ethnic groupsHan, Li, Miao, Zhuang, Utsul
"Hainan" in Chinese characters
Literal meaning"South of the Sea (Qiongzhou Strait)"
Hainan Island
A 19th-century map of Hainan Island
Traditional Chinese海南
Simplified Chinese海南
Literal meaningIsland South of the Sea
Former names
Literal meaningPearl Cliffs
Traditional Chinese瓊崖
Simplified Chinese琼崖
Literal meaningJade Cliffs
Traditional Chinese瓊州
Simplified Chinese琼州
Literal meaningJade Prefecture

The province has land of 33,920 square kilometers (13,100 sq mi), of which Hainan the island is 32,900 square kilometers (12,700 sq mi) and the rest is over 200 islands scattered across three archipelagos: Zhongsha, Xisha and Nansha. It was part of Guangdong from 195088, after which it resumed as a top-tier entity and almost immediately made the largest Special Economic Zone by Deng Xiaoping as part of the then-ongoing Chinese economic reform program.

The Li (or Hlai) people, a Kra–Dai-speaking ethnic group, are longest-native to the island and comprise 15% of the population. Their native languages include the Hlai languages. They are recognized by the Chinese government as one of the country's 56 ethnic groups. The Han population, who compose a majority of the population at 82%, speak a wide variety of languages including Mandarin, Min Hainanese, Yue Chinese, Lingaoese or Hakka Chinese.[6]

There are ten major cities and ten counties in Hainan Province. The capital of the province is Haikou, on the northern coast of Hainan Island, while Sanya is a well-known tourist destination on the southern coast. The other major cities are Wenchang, Sansha, Qionghai, Wanning, Wuzhishan, Dongfang and Danzhou.

According to China's territorial claims, several territories in the South China Sea, including the Spratly Islands (Nansha) and Paracel Islands (Xisha),[7] are notionally administered under Sansha city of the province.

On 1 June 2020, a large-scale plan was announced by the Chinese government to transform the entire island province into a free trade port (FTP), with the aim of turning it into the largest special economic zone in China.[8][9] The island is also China's first blockchain testing zone that was officially started in 2019.[10]