Located where Kunshan borders Wujiang and Shanghai, Zhouzhuang covers an area of 38.96 sq km, which is home to 30,000 people, including 22,000 people who are officially registered as local residents. Within its jurisdiction, it has 10 administrative villages and 3 communities. Across the town, there are 59 natural settlements, 54 of which are preserved. As a historically profound and culturally rich place endowed with great natural beauty, it was once acclaimed by famous Chinese painter Wu Guanzhong (1919-2010) as "the pinnacle of the beauty of Chinese water towns". The town has also won a number of international and domestic honors, including: one of China's first batch of National Historic and Cultural Towns; a Special Town-level Tourist Destination; a 5A tourist resort; a Low-carbon Ecological Scenic Spot; one of the world's 10 most beautiful towns; a National Healthy Town; and a National Model Town in Environmental Beauty. In 2015, Zhouzhuang scored an over 95% satisfaction rating among tourists visiting Zhouzhuang in a random survey by the China National Tourism Administration.
In 2015, Kunshan reported RMB 4.37 billion in GDP, up 4.2%; RMB 3.03 billion in industrial output, up 0.4%; RMB 3.78 billion in value added of the service sector, up 4.4%; RMB 203 million in fiscal revenue, up 11%; RMB 670 million in fixed asset investment (including a total investment of RMB 120 million in manufacturing-related services); and RMB 30,148 in per-capita income for rural communities, up 8.8%.
Tourism. Tourism began to flourish in the mid-1980s in Zhouzhuang, mainly driven by its 0.47-sq km well preserved ancient town. Thanks to three decades of preservation and development, it has now become China's most famous water town visited by 3 million tourists per year. In recent years, Zhouzhuang has been committed to the development of leisure-oriented tourism and has introduced the slogan "There is a lifestyle called Zhouzhuang". Moreover, it has attracted and developed a large number of new tourism projects that has helped transform the local tourism sector, which has helped increase the percentage of individual tourists from an original 40% to a current 70% of total tourists. In 2015, Zhouzhuang reported an income of RMB 2 billion from the tourism sector.
Sensing technology. Zhouzhuang is a pioneer in sensing technology development. In 1998, China Science Group established a hi-tech park in Zhouzhuang. Since 2000, the park has been chosen by the Torch Program as a national hub of sensing technology; by the 863 Program as a technology incubator; by the provincial government of Jiangsu as an industrial center of the Internet of Things and sensing technology; and by the municipal government of Suzhou as a base of strategic emerging industries. Currently, the park hosts nearly 50 companies that specialize in sensing technology or whose main business is associated with the technology. Inside the park, there are 17 companies recognized as provincial- or higher-level hi-tech companies and 3 engineering and technology centers that are also recognized at the provincial- or higher-level. There is one expert listed in the 10,000 Experts Program, one expert listed in the Recruitment Program of Global Experts, and 54 experts recognized by the provincial Innovative and Entrepreneurial Talent Program, the 333 Talent Development Program, the Gusu Talent Program and Kunshan's Innovative and Entrepreneurial Talent Program. In 2015, Zhouzhuang reported RMB 1.88 billion in the output of its sensing technology sector.
Cultural and creative industries. Creative industries have emerged in Zhouzhuang for quite some time, but have not seen a fast growth until in recent years. In 2008, a creative industries park was established in Zhouzhuang, which was recognized as a provincial cultural park in 2009 and again as a national model park in 2010. In August 2010, the park was selected by the municipal government of Suzhou as a major hub of service development; in November 2010, it was honored by the Ministry of Culture as one of the 4th batch of national hubs of creative industries; in August 2012, it was approved by the provincial Department of Human Resources and Social Security as the Post-Doctoral Innovation Incubator; in 2013, it was acknowledged as a provincial model in copyright-driven development. Since its birth, the park has attracted a total of 120 cultural and creative companies, with a combined registered capital of RMB 500 million.