Yantai Diocese covers 4 districts (Zhifou, Fushan, Weizhen, Hanting); 4 cities (Longkou, Laiyang, Laizhou and Pingdou) and 6 counties (Haiyang, Zhaoyuan, Qixia, Fenglai, Changdao and Changyi).
There are 6.51 million people living in the area, including Han Chinese and 47 ethnic minorities.
Mandarin Chinese, Jiaodong dialect and Yantai dialect are in use in the diocesan territory.
Catholic faith was first brought to Yantai by a Chinese priest in 1858. In 1862, missioners were sent to Yantai upon the request of British consulate for pastoral care of local expatriates from Europe. In 1886, the first Catholic Church was built in Yantai and it became the centre of local Catholic activities.
In 1894, Vicariate Apostolic of Eastern Shantung was established and Bishop C?sar-Jean Schang was the first Vicar Apostolic. The vicariate apostolic was renamed as Vicariate Apostolic of Zhifou in 1924.
In 1938, Canadian Franciscan Father Louis-Prosper Durand was appointed the vicar apostolic.Two years later, he was arrested by Japanese during the World War II and sent to the concentration camp. After he was released in 1945, he left China and the vicariate apostolic was managed by a French priest.
In 1946, Vicariate Apostolic of Zhifou was elevated to Diocese of Yantai. Just one year before the establishment of People's Republic of China, Franciscan Father Alphonsus Zong Huaimo was secretly appointed by the Holy See and ordained in Beijing.
Meanwhile, Chinese priests were entrusted to manage the diocese by foreign missioners who were forced to leave China in 1952. The cathedral was removed several times from 1955 to 1960. In 1960, Father Zhang Yuejin was elected as the first Chinese local bishop of Yantai. During the Cultural Revolution (1966-1977), all religions activities were suspended and churches' premises were seriously destroyed and fired.
After religious activities revived in the late 1970s, the Church was split into open and underground communities. Bishop Gao Kexian was secretly ordained in 1990. But much of his life thereafter was spent in detention until his death in 2005.
In 2004, the open Church authorities combined Yantai and Weihai dioceses into Yantai diocese while the underground community follows the jurisdiction of the Holy See.
Yantai is one of the earliest trading ports of China. It has a long history of strong maritime transportation. With nine ports, Yantai handles 41 million tons of cargo and registers a passenger transport volume of 3.79 million people each year. People can take a boat trip from Yantai to Dalian and other coastal cities in Shandong province.
Yantai Laishan International Airport is located 15 kilometers away from downtown Yantai. It has chartered flights to Beijing, Shanghai, Harbin, Jinan, Shenyang and Wuhan, and other major cities while people also can enjoy a ride on train to Beijing, Shanghai, Xian, Jinan and Qingdao.
Although Yantai is located in northern China, monsoons regulate the climate, keeping it warm and humid. The average temperature in Yantai is 12 degrees Celsius and the annual rainfall is 620mm.
Yantai is currently the second largest industrial city in Shandong, next to Qingdao. However, agriculture is the region's largest industry. It is famous throughout China for a particular variety of apple and is home of the country's largest and oldest grape winery.
The county-level city of Longkou is well known throughout China for its production of cellophane noodles (glass noodles). Situating in an area rich in minerals, over 30 of minerals can be mined. The amount of gold and talcum are one-fifth storage of the nation.
Yantai is situated at the central part of Shandong Peninsular. It is near to Yellow Sea and Bohai Sea and parallels to Liaotong Peninsula, Japan, South Korea and North Korea.
There are a number of tertiary educational institutes in the area covered by Yantai diocese, including Yantai University, Ludong University, Donghai University, Yantai TV University as well as a Shaolin Kung Fu (martial art) School.
Yantai was once called Chefoo (Zhifu) in ancient times. To fight against the Japanese pirates, the Ming Dynasty set up beacons in the year of 1398 and the name of "Yantai" was denominated.
Yantai became one of the first ports that opened up to foreign powers in 1861. About 17 foreign countries setup their consulates there from 1862 to 1930. Meanwhile, banks, churches, schools, and even the first post office in China were set up to serve the increasing foreign institutions. Now, most of the relics are preserved and renovated open to public. British, German and Japanese were among others to have a greater cultural impact on the city.
After 1949, the name of Chefoo was changed to Yantai. In 1984, Yantai was opened to the world as an ice-free trade port.