Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Borneo, Malaysia

🇲🇾 Kota Kinabalu is the state capital of Sabah, Malaysia. It is also the capital of the Kota Kinabalu District as well as the West Coast Division of Sabah. The city is located on the north-west coast of Borneo facing the South China Sea. The Tunku Abdul Rahman National Park lies to its west and Mount Kinabalu, which gave the city its name, is located to its east. Kota Kinabalu forms a larger metro area with the adjacent districts of Penampang and Putatan.

In the 15th century, the area of Kota Kinabalu was under the influence of Bruneian Empire. In the 19th century, the British North Borneo Company (BNBC) first set up a settlement near the Gaya Island. However, it was destroyed by fire in 1897 by a local leader named Mat Salleh. In July 1899, the place located opposite to the Gaya Island was identified as a suitable place for settlements. Development in the area was started soon after that; and the place was named "Api-api" before it was renamed after Sir Charles Jessel, the vice-chairman of BNBC, as "Jesselton". Jesselton became a major trading port in the area, and was connected to the North Borneo Railway. Jesselton was largely destroyed during World War II. The Japanese occupation of Jesselton provoked several local uprisings notably the Jesselton Revolt but they were eventually defeated by the Japanese. After the war, BNBC was unable to finance the high cost of reconstructions and the place was ceded to the British Crown Colony. The British Crown declared Jesselton as the new capital of North Borneo in 1946 and started to rebuild the town. After the formation of Malaysia, North Borneo was renamed as Sabah. In 1967, Jesselton was renamed as Kota Kinabalu, Kota being the Malay word for Fort and Kinabalu after the nearby Mount Kinabalu. Kota Kinabalu was granted city status in 2000.

Kota Kinabalu is often known as KK both in Malaysia and internationally. It is a major tourist destination and a gateway for travellers visiting Sabah and Borneo. Kinabalu Park is located about 90 kilometres from the city and there are many other tourist attractions in and around the city. Kota Kinabalu is also one of the major industrial and commercial centres of East Malaysia. These two factors combine to make Kota Kinabalu one of the fastest-growing cities in Malaysia.

Economy Besides being the capital city, Kota Kinabalu is also the main industrial and commercial centre for Sabah. The economy is dominated by the primary sector of industry. Historically, the secondary sector dominated the economy, but due to rapid urbanisation and economic development, this sector of the economy is slowly diminishing. More recently, a move towards a more tertiary-based industry has become more apparent, especially with regards to the boom in the tourism industry. Many state-level, national-level and international commercial banks, as well as some insurance companies have their headquarters or branches here. The overseas Chinese population also contributes to the development of KK since their immigration in the late 19th century. Their original role was often a 'coolie' (manual labourer) and today many Chinese work as shop owners.

A number of industrial and manufacturing companies also have plants here, especially in the industrial districts of Likas, Kolombong, and Inanam. The ongoing construction of the 8,320-acre (33.7 km2) Kota Kinabalu Industrial Park (KKIP) in Sepanggar is intended to boost the city's industrial and commercial activity, making it a major growth centre in East Malaysia, as well for the BIMP-EAGA (Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area) region. Kota Kinabalu also hosts numerous national, regional and international conferences or trade fairs every year, including the biennial Sabah International Expo, the Asia Pacific eTourism Conference by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the ASEAN Australian Engineering Congress, and many others. These events are normally held either at the Sabah Trade Centre or Sutera Harbour resort.

Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Borneo 
Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Borneo
Image: Adobe Stock alenthien #300678254

Kota Kinabalu has a population of over 563,000 people. Kota Kinabalu also forms the centre of the wider Kota Kinabalu metropolitan area which has a population of over 628,725 people.

Twin Towns – Sister Cities Kota Kinabalu currently is sister cities with: 🇦🇺 Rockingham, Australia; 🇨🇳 Hangzhou, China; 🇨🇳 Heyuan, China; 🇨🇳 Jiangmen, China; 🇨🇳 Wuhan, China; 🇨🇳 Xi'an, China; 🇨🇳 Zhangjiagang, China; 🇲🇬 Antananarivo, Madagascar. 🇷🇺 Vladivostok, Russia; 🇰🇷 Gapyeong, South Korea; 🇰🇷 Yongin, South Korea; 🇰🇷 Yeosu, South Korea; 🇹🇼 Taipei, Taiwan; 🇹🇼 Taoyuan, Taiwan; 🇹🇭 Ratchaburi, Thailand; 🇺🇸 Portland, United States.

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