Harbin (/hɑːrˈbɪn, -bn/;[6][7] simplified Chinese: 哈尔滨; traditional Chinese: 哈爾濱; pinyin: Hā'ěrbīn Hā'ěrbīn) is a sub-provincial city and the provincial capital of Heilongjiang province, People's Republic of China,[8] as well as the second largest city by urban population and largest city by metropolitan population (urban and rural together) in Northeast China.[9] Harbin has direct jurisdiction over nine metropolitan districts, two county-level cities and seven counties, and is the eighth most populous Chinese city according to the 2010 census,[10] the built-up area (which consists of all districts except Shuangcheng and Acheng) had 5,282,093 inhabitants, while the total metropolitan population was up to 10,635,971,[11] making it one of the 50 largest urban areas in the world. Harbin serves as a key political, economic, scientific, cultural and communications hub in Northeast China, as well as an important industrial base of the nation.[12] Harbin is also one of the top 100 science cities and metropolitan areas in the world by scientific research output as tracked by the Nature Index.[13] The city is the seat of several major universities in the Project 211, including Harbin Institute of Technology, Harbin Engineering University, Northeast Agricultural University and Northeast Forestry University.

Clockwise from top: Hongbo Plaza, Saint Sofia Cathedral, Songpu Bridge, Harbin Ice and Snow World, Central Avenue, Flood control monument
Ice City, Oriental Paris, Oriental Moscow, The pearl on the swan's neck
Location of Harbin City (yellow) in Heilongjiang (light grey)
Location of the city center in Heilongjiang
Harbin (China)
Coordinates (Heilongjiang Provincial Museum): 45°45′27″N 126°38′27″E
County-level divisions18 divisions,[1] including 9 urban districts, 2 County-level cities and 7 counties
Settledbefore 1115
 - Town

 - County1905-10-31
 - Municipality1921-02-05
Municipal seatSongbei District
  TypeSub-provincial city
  BodyHarbin Municipal People's Congress
  CCP SecretaryWang Zhaoli
  Congress ChairmanZhao Ming
  MayorSun Zhe
  CPPCC ChairmanQin Enting
  Prefecture-level & Sub-provincial city53,068 km2 (20,490 sq mi)
609 km2 (235 sq mi)
10,204.8 km2 (3,940.1 sq mi)
150 m (488 ft)
 (2020 census)[4]
  Prefecture-level & Sub-provincial city10,009,854
  Density190/km2 (490/sq mi)
  Urban density8,400/km2 (22,000/sq mi)
  Metro density520/km2 (1,300/sq mi)
 Data comes from 2010 National Census (urban population data excludes de facto satellite cities Acheng and Shuangcheng)
Demonym(s)Harbinite, Harbinese
Time zoneUTC+08:00 (China Standard)
Postal code
Area code(s)451
ISO 3166 codeCN-HL-01
License plate prefixes黑A, 黑L
GDP (2013)CNY 501.08 billion
 – Growth 8.9%
 – per capitaCNY 49,565
GDP (PPP)2013
 – TotalUS$117.99 billion
 – Per capitaUS$ 11,671
City flowersLilac
WebsiteHarbin Official Website
"Harbin" in Simplified Chinese (top), Traditional Chinese (middle), and Manchu (bottom) characters
Chinese name
Simplified Chinese哈尔滨
Traditional Chinese哈爾濱
Hanyu PinyinHā'ěrbīn
Literal meaning(Manchu) "Place of drying fishnets"
Manchu name
Manchu scriptᡥᠠᡵᠪᡳᠨ
Russian name

Harbin, whose name was originally a Manchu word meaning "a place for drying fishing nets",[12] grew from a small rural settlement on the Songhua River to become one of the largest cities in Northeast China. Founded in 1898 with the coming of the Chinese Eastern Railway, the city first prospered as a region inhabited by an overwhelming majority of immigrants from the Russian Empire.[14]

With its often harsh winters, Harbin is heralded as the Ice City () for its well-known winter tourism and recreations.[15] Harbin is notable for its ice sculpture festival in the winter.[16] Besides being well known for its historical Russian legacy, the city serves as an important gateway in Sino-Russian trade today.[17] In the 1920s, the city was considered China's fashion capital since new designs from Paris and Moscow reached here first before arriving in Shanghai.[18] The city was voted "China Top Tourist City" by the China National Tourism Administration in 2004.[12]

From 1932 until 1945, Harbin was the largest city in the Imperial Japanese puppet state of Manchukuo.