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Beijing, alternatively romanized as Peking, is the capital of the People’s Republic of China. It is the world’s most populous capital city, with over 21 million residents within an administrative area of 16,410.5 km2. The city, located in Northern China, is governed as a municipality under the direct administration of the State Council.
Beijing is a global city and one of the world’s leading centers for culture, diplomacy and politics, business and economics, education, language, and science and technology. It is the second-largest Chinese city by urban population after Shanghai and is the nation’s cultural, educational, and political center. It is home to the headquarters of most of China’s largest state-owned companies and houses the largest number of Fortune Global 500 companies in the world, as well as the world’s four biggest financial institutions. Beijing is the “billionaire capital of the world” with the highest number of billionaires living in the city.
It is also a major hub for the national highway, expressway, railway, and high-speed rail networks. The Beijing Capital International Airport has been the second busiest in the world by passenger traffic since 2010, and, as of 2016, the city’s subway network is the busiest and longest in the world. The Beijing Daxing International Airport, a second international airport in Beijing, is the largest single-structure airport terminal in the world.
Combining both modern and traditional architecture, Beijing is one of the oldest cities in the world, with a rich history dating back three millennia. As the last of the Four Great Ancient Capitals of China, Beijing has been the political center of the country for most of the past eight centuries and was the largest city in the world by population for much of the second millennium AD. With mountains surrounding the inland city on three sides, in addition to the old inner and outer city walls, Beijing was strategically poised and developed to be the residence of the emperor. It thus was the perfect location for the imperial capital.