Qingdao, China

South Australia, Adelaide’s home state, and Shandong, the province where Qingdao is located, have been sister states since 1986. It’s no wonder then, that ties between the two cities just keep growing.

About Qingdao

Meaning “Green Island”, Qingdao is regarded by some Chinese as one of the most beautiful and clean cities in China. Boarded by the Yellow Sea on two sides, it is a major port for international trade.

Just as Adelaide is known as the home of Cooper’s Beer, Qingdao is probably best known as the home of Tsingtao Beer. The 110-year-old company makes China’s top-selling export lager and relies heavily on malting barley from South Australia for the production.

Known as one of the five economic “dragon cities” in China, Qingdao was chosen as a sister city because of its similarities to Adelaide, and the expected positive impact on trade relations between the two cities.

How the relationship began

Building on the sister state relationship between South Australia and Shandong, which was formed in 1986, the City of Adelaide and Qingdao formalised a Friendly City relationship in 2001.

In 2002, a Memorandum of Understanding (Education and Training) was signed between Qingdao Municipal Government and the City of Adelaide.

A delegation of 19 people, led by the then Adelaide Lord Mayor, Alfred Huang, visited Qingdao and attended the China International Education Exhibition in Shandong. The delegation also visited universities and schools in Qingdao with positive outcomes.

In 2013 the City of Adelaide hosted a Strengthening Relationships with China workshop which was attended by a delegation from Qingdao, including their then Mayor. Later that year, Adelaide’s Lord Mayor Stephen Yarwood led a business delegation to Qingdao. Over the next 12 months, the sister city agreement between the two cities was formalised.


The then Adelaide Lord Mayor Stephen Yarwood hosted a civic reception for the 2014 OzAsia Festival and celebrated the newly formed sister city relationship. Approximately 100 performers from Qingdao performed at the festival.

The City of Adelaide produced a video about student life in Adelaide for Qingdao students who were thinking of studying abroad.

Around 200 delegates from state government, local government (including Adelaide’s then Lord Mayor Martin Haese), and businesses participate in a trade mission to the Shandong Province.

Adelaide’s Pulteney Grammar School and Tai Huang Mountain School in Qingdao announce that they will become Sister Schools strengthening cultural ties between the two cities.

Government officials were among the delegates from Qingdao hosted by the City of Adelaide. Discussions centred around the Adelaide Fringe Festival joining the 2016 Qingdao International Beer Festival. A Memorandum of Understanding is later signed when a delegation from Adelaide goes to Qingdao.

Later that year 25 South Australian businesses go to Qingdao to further strengthen the now 15-year relationship between City of Adelaide and Qingdao, and the 30th anniversary of the South Australia, Shandong sister state relationship.

The Adelaide-Qingdao Rose Garden was unveiled in Veale Gardens, Adelaide. The garden celebrates the strong and growing friendship between the cities. Make sure you visit and see the Song of the Wind sculpture, generously donated by the Qingdao Municipal People’s Government. You’ll also see The City of Qingdao Rose, specifically bred for the rose garden by George Thomson, a renowned South Australian rose breeder.

In October 2019, a group of City of Adelaide and South Australian government representatives visited Qingdao and Jinan for the Shandong International Friendship Cities Conference for Cooperation and Development. South Australian companies were also represented at the International Friendship Cities Trade Fair in Qingdao, which was held concurrently.

Find out more about Qingdao