Zibo is a prefecture-level city in central Shandong province, People's Republic of China. It borders the provincial capital of Jinan to the west, Laiwu and Tai'an to the southwest, Linyi to the south, Weifang to the east, Dongying to the northeast, and Binzhou the north.Located in the centre of Shandong, Zibo is an important transportation hub. Zibo governs 5 districts and each of these districts has a distinct downtown area of their own. The T-shaped city has a total area of 5,938 km2, including the counties of Huantai, Gaoqing, and Yiyuan. Zibo's total population was 4.53 million at the 2010 census, of which nearly 3 million are in the city proper.Zibo was the centre of the ancient State of Qi, whose capital Linzi was the most populous city in the east about 3000 years ago. Zibo is the birthplace of ancient football Cuju, which according to FIFA, was the earliest form of the sport. Pu Songling, a well-known writer of the Qing Dynasty, is one of the most famous people from Zibo. As the birthplace of Qi Culture and because of the abundant natural resources, it is an excellent tourist city in China.Manufacturing holds an important place of the city's economy and Zibo is particularly strong in ceramics manufacturing. Other industries include the petrochemical industry, pharmaceuticals, metallurgy, building materials, machinery and textile. High and new-technology industries, such as new materials, fine chemicals, electronics and information, and biological medicines, are developing rapidly.According to 2007/2008 Global City Competitiveness Report released by Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Zibo was among the top 20 cities in the world who enjoy the fastest economic growth between 2001 and 2005. According to Oriental Outlook MagazineIssue No.1, 2009, Zibo ranks No.1 on the list of cities with reasonable real estate prices in China, also No.2 on the list of cities with good public security. In 2009, the city was awarded as among "Best 10 Harmonious Cities that enjoy Sustainable Development in China".