Ningbo or Ningpo (ningˈbôˈ) [key], city (1994 est. pop. 612,000), NE Zhejiang prov., SE China, at the confluence of the Yong (or Ningbo) and Yao rivers. Situated at the terminus of the E Zhejiang RR, it is an industrial center and one of China's leading seaports. It was designated an "open" city in 1984 in order to stimulate foreign trade and investment. Ningbo has a variety of heavy and light industries, including shipbuilding, food processing, textile mills, and the manufacture of machinery. The city's ports and economic and technological development zone are at Beilun. Ningbo is a transportation center with canal, road, and rail links, and steamer services to places such as Shanghai; a 22-mi (36-km) bridge across Hangzhou Bay N of Ningbo links the city with Jiaxing and Shanghai. Long a center of culture and religion, Ningbo has many temples and Buddhist monasteries.
The present site of Ningbo has been occupied since at least the 8th cent. A.D., and tombs dating to the Three Kingdoms period (A.D. 220–265) have been found in the city. During the Ming dynasty Ningbo was known as Qingyuan. From 1433 to 1549 it served as the port of entry for Japanese missions to the Chinese court. The Portuguese, who had established a trading settlement there in the 16th cent., called the city Liampo. In the Opium War (1841), British forces occupied the city. The Treaty of Nanjing (1842), which ended hostilities, made Ningbo a treaty port. The city was known as Ninghsien (pinyin, Ningxian) from 1911 to 1949.