Huaxi is a Chinese village like no other. According to China Daily, every villager owns a plush estate and two cars, and rests comfortably on a bank account that contains at least $250,000 worth of RMB. Considered a model socialist village, residents are offered free healthcare and education. The village is even a listed company on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange. On top of all this, or perhaps because of it, Huaxi, called “The No. 1 Village Under the Sky,” is considered to be China’s richest village.
Over 2 million tourists pour into the village every year, mostly to visit the 800-room luxury hotel Longxi International Hotel, or the village’s famous replicas of such national and international landmarks as the Great Wall of China, Tian’anmen Square, Arc de Triomphe, and the United States Capitol Building.
Most recently, the village in the southern Jiangsu Province launched its own air service, dubbed Huaxi General Aviation (HGA). It boasts two helicopters, a six-seat AS350B3 and an eight-seat MD902, purchased with RMB 90 million provided by Jiangsu Huaxi Group, the parent company that runs all of Huaxi’s business. A ten-minute flight sets tourists back RMB 1,000, or the helicopter can be rented for RMB 35,000 per hour. The village, in keeping with its community spirit, is offering each resident one free ride.
Huaxi’s full-time population is approximately 36,000. It is a four-minute flight from Jiangyin, and a nine-minute flight from Wuxi, the nearest metropolitan area.
photo credit: bert van dijk