China is the second-largest country in the world by land area after Russia, and is the third-largest by total area, after Russia and Canada. China's total area is approximately 9,600,000 Square meters. Updated to 2004, China has 23 provinces, 5 Ethnic Autonomous Regions, 4 municipalities directly under the Central Government, 2 special administration regions and 661 cities.
The 5 Autonomous Regions are (ordered by the land area of each region) Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, Tibet Autonomous Region, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region and Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region. The 4 municipalities administered directly by Central Government are Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai and Chongqing, of which Chongqing is the biggest by area. The 2 special administration regions are Hong Kong and Macau. Following will be the Top 10 biggest provinces in China by area.
• Permanent resident population: 21,813,334 (2010)
• Provincial capital: Urumqi Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region is the largest province in China with an area about 1.66 million square kilometers (or 16% of China's total land area). It is renowned for its gorgeous natural beauty and plain ethnic custom and profound culture. It has abundant oil reserves and is China's largest natural gas-producing region, and it's the provincial capital city of Xinjiang.
Urumqi, Xinjiang, China
• Permanent resident population: 3,002,166 (2010)
• Provincial capital: Lhasa
With an area of 1.22 million sq km, Tibet Autonomous Region is the second biggest province in China. Located in the southwest of Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, it is known as the 'the roof of the world' or 'the third pole on the globe' and reputed for its incomparable natural beauty, spectacular monasteries and unsophisticated custom and mysterious religious atmosphere.
Lhasa, Tibet, China
• Permanent resident population: 24,706,321 (2010)
• Provincial capital: Hohhot
Inner Mongolia Minority Autonomous Region is the third-biggest subdivision of China spanning about 1,200,000 sq km. Located in the northern margin of China, it shares an international border with the countries of Mongolia and the Russian Federation. It is a land enjoys abundant mineral, solar and animal agriculture resources.
Xilamuren Grassland, Inner Mongolia, China
• Permanent resident population: 5,626,722 (2010)
• Provincial capital: Xining
Qinghai Province is the fourth biggest province of China that named after the largest saltwater lake Qinghai Lake, a famous attraction in this province. Qinghai, “Qing” for short, is the land where Yangtze River, Yellow River and Lanchang River originated from. Qinghai's culture is heavily influenced by China proper and Tibet, given the close proximities as well as a shared history.
• Permanent resident population: 1,339,724,852 (2010)
• Provincial capital: Chengdu
Sichuan is a province in Southwestern China with an area of 485,000 square kilometers. Have a long history, Sichuan enjoys profound historical accumulations and natural resources, is also home to well-known Giant Panda. Owning to the superb geographical condition, it is the important transit hub of western China.
Chengdu, Sichuan Province, China
• Permanent resident population: 38,312,224 (2010)
• Provincial capital: Harbin
Heilongjiang Province situated in the northernmost part of China, with an area around 454,800 sq km. It has a humid continental climate predominating. Winters there are long and bitter, with an average of −31 to −15 °C (-24 to 5 °F) in January, while summers are short and warm, with an average of 18 to 23 °C. It is an ideal place to avoid the summer heat and enjoy the skiing in winter.
Snow Town, Harbin, Heilongjiang Province, China
• Permanent resident population: 25,575,254 (2010)
• Provincial capital: Lanzhou
Gansu is the 7th largest province located in the northwest of China with an area of 454,400 sq km. The Yellow River passes through the southern part of the province. The history of this province can be dated back to the Spring and Autumn period, some 2,200 years ago. Thus it is one of the cradles of brilliant Chinese civilization. It is a land rich in mineral, water and energy resources.
Danxia Landscape, Zhangye, Gansu Province
• Permanent resident population: 45,966,239 (2010)
• Provincial capital: Kunming
Situated in a mountainous area of southwestern China, Yunnan Province covers an area of approximately 394,000 square kilometers. It has long been reputed as 'Colored Clouds in the South’, and renowned for its gorgeous natural scenery, unsoiled ethnic custom and profound cultural accumulations. In addition, it abounds in biological resources and enjoys such good reputations as the Kingdoms of Plants and the Realm of Animals.
Stone Forest, Kunming,Yunnan Province
• Permanent resident population: 46,026,629 (2010)
• Provincial capital: Nanning
With an area of 236, 700 square kilometers, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region located in southern China, is the transit hub between southern China and southwest China. It is a land that rich in mineral, marine and natural resources. In addition, it is one of the 3 largest settlements of Overseas Chinese. Nanning is the provincial capital, while Guilin is the most famous tourist city of the province.
Guilin, Guangxi, China
• Permanent resident population: 65,683,722 (2010)
• Provincial capital: Changsha
Located to the south of the middle reaches of the Yangtze River, Hunan Province has an area of 211,800 square kilometers. With Xiang River running through the province, Hunan is sometimes called and officially abbreviated as "Xiang”. Hunan is a famous historical province, some 5,000 years ago; ancient people had settled there and created brilliant culture. Besides, Hunan owns two world natural heritage sites.
Tianmenshan Mountain, Zhangjiajie, Hunan Province, China