Haikou Clock Tower is situated at the Northern edge of Haikou’s business district, and is one of the most important and iconic buildings of the city. Not only does it have a certain architectural beauty, with it’s red brick structure surrounded by tropical coconut trees, it serves an important purpose and has an interesting history as well.
In 1686 CE, during the reign of Emperor Kang Xi, in the Qing Dynasty, the General Customs Office was established in Haikou to manage the 10 harbours on Hainan Island. In the following years, a growing number of merchant ships arrived from South-East Asia to exchange trade with China. Haikou was chosen as the port to facilitate this trade with the outside world around 1858 CE. As a result, larger numbers of merchants arrived and Haikou’s trade prospered.
One problem that became obvious was the lack of a standardised timepiece that was freely available elsewhere around the world. In this more commercial environment, this shortcoming caused great inconvenience to the traffic, business and local people. In 1928, Mr Zhou Cheng Mei, a public minded business man, organised fund-raising and construction of the clock tower. This project was complete in 1929.
“Zhong Lou” was later renovated in 1987 by the Haikou City government. It has a footprint of 25 square metres and a height of 28 metres. The timepiece within it is extremely accurate, and a pleasant “Westminster” chime sounds every half hour. It is appreciated today for its history, beauty and usefulness; and is one of the iconic structures of Haikou City!