The Yangtze River (English pronunciation: or ), known in China as the Cháng Jiāng (literally: "Long River") or the Yángzǐ Jiāng, is the longest river in Asia and the third-longest in the world. It flows for 6,300 kilometers (3,915 mi) from the glaciers on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau in Qinghai eastward across southwest, central and eastern China before emptying into the East China Sea at Shanghai. The river is the longest in the world to flow entirely within one country. It drains one-fifth of the land area of the People's Republic of China (PRC) and its river basin is home to one-third of the country's population. The Yangtze is also one of the biggest rivers by discharge volume in the world.
The Yangtze River plays a large role in the history, culture and economy of China. The prosperous Yangtze River Delta generates as much as 20% of the PRC's GDP. The Yangtze River flows through a wide array of ecosystems and is itself habitat to several endemic and endangered species including the Chinese alligator, the finless porpoise, the Chinese paddlefish, the (possibly extinct) Yangtze River dolphin or baiji, and the Yangtze sturgeon. For thousands of years, the river has been used for water, irrigation, sanitation, transportation, industry, boundary-marking and war. The Three Gorges Dam on the Yangtze River is the largest hydro-electric power station in the world.