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It was a collecting center for grain, beans, cotton, and hemp, as well as a center for handicraft industries manufacturing cloth, leather, bamboo goods, and ironware.

The construction in 1912 of the Tianjin–Pukou railway, farther east, for a while made Hefei a provincial backwater, and much of its importance passed to Bengbu.

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The present city dates from the Song dynasty (960–1126), the earlier Hefei having been some distance farther north.

In the 10th year of Xining (熙宁十年,1077 AD), the taxes collected from the Luchow Prefecture were 50315 Guan, approximately 25 million today's Chinese Yuan, with a ranking of the amount of taxes was the 11th(following Kaifeng, Hangzhou, Qinzhou, Chuzhou, Chengdu, Zizhou, Xingyuan, Mianzhou, Zhenzhou, Suzhou) among all the prefectures of Song Dynasty.

Zhang Liao, a general of the Wei state, led 800 picked cavalry to defeat the 200,000-strong army from Wei’s rival state Wu.

Several decades of warring in Hefei between Wu and Wei followed this battle.

Although Hefei was a quiet market town of only about 30,000 in the mid-1930s, its population grew more than tenfold in the following 20 years.

The city's administrative role was strengthened by the transfer of the provincial government from Anqing in 1949, but much of its new growth derived from its development as an industrial city.

During the 10th century, it was for a while the capital of the independent Wu kingdom (902–938) and was an important center of the Southern Tang state (937–975).

After 1127 it became a center of the defenses of the Southern Song dynasty (1126–1279) against the Jin (Jurchen) invaders in the Jin–Song wars, as well as a flourishing center of trade between the two states.

The city sees irregular snowfalls that rarely turn significant.

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