Hangzhou (Chinese: 杭州, Hangzhounese pronunciation: [ɦɑ̃.tse], Standard Mandarin pronunciation: [xǎŋ.ʈʂóu] ), also romanized as Hangchow, is the capital and most populous city of Zhejiang, People's Republic of China. It sits at the head of Hangzhou Bay, which separates Shanghai and Ningbo. Hangzhou grew to prominence as the southern terminus of the Grand Canal and has been one of China's most renowned and prosperous cities for much of the last millennium. Its West Lake, a UNESCO World Heritage site immediately west of the city, is among its best-known attractions. A study conducted by PwC and China Development Research Foundation ranked Hangzhou first among "Chinese Cities of Opportunity". According to GaWC, it is a World City with a "Beta" classification, together with Chongqing, Nanjing and Tianjin in China. It is also one of the world's top 100 financial centers, according to the Global Financial Centres Index.Hangzhou is classified as a sub-provincial city and forms the core of the Hangzhou metropolitan area, the fourth-largest in China. During the 2010 Chinese census, the metropolitan area held 21.102 million people over an area of 34,585 km2 (13,353 sq mi). Hangzhou Prefecture had a registered population of 10,360,000 in 2019.Hangzhou has been repeatedly rated as the best commercial city in mainland China by Forbes. Home to the headquarters of world Internet industry leaders such as the Alibaba Group, Hangzhou is known for attracting professionals and entrepreneurs who work in information technology.
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