Xiamen is an ancient city with a long and varied history. One of China's five special economic zones, Xiamen was once called "Ludao", meaning Egret Island, as many birds of that species used to inhabit the area. During the 20th year of the reign of Hongwu in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), the city was named "Xiamen Cheng", meaning gate of the nation. Finally, the name of "Xiamen" stuck.
In October 1980, the State Council made the decision to outline an area of 2.5 square kilometers in Huli, in the north of Xiamen Island, and established Xiamen Special Economic Zone, making it one of the first cities to become a special economic zone in China.
The city has seen rapid growth in economic and social development in recent years.
China now enjoys comprehensive mutual visa exemption with 23 countries after reaching an agreement on mutual visa exemption with Thailand on Jan 28.
China and Thailand signed an agreement on mutual visa exemption for holders of ordinary passports and passports for public affairs on Jan 28.