Weihai's population was 2,804,800 at the 2010 census. Amongst them, 591,982 live in the built up area (Huancui district). Rongcheng, a county-level city within Weihai, has a built up area with 1,006,795 inhabitants.
Between 1898 and 1930, the city was part of the British leased territory of Weihaiwei; during this time, the city itself was known as Port Edward and served as the capital of Weihaiwei.
Weihaiwei was the base for the Beiyang Fleet during the Qing Dynasty. In 1895, the Japanese captured it in the Battle of Weihaiwei, which is regarded as the last major battle of the First Sino-Japanese War. The Japanese then evacuated on 24 May 1898, when it was then occupied by the British.
Weihaiwei was under British rule from 1 July 1898, under lease agreement with the Chinese empire, until 1930, with 'Port Edward' (Weihaiwei city) as capital. A Royal Navy base was built on Liugong Island. Weihaiwei became a special administrative region after it was returned to the Republic of China in 1930, but Liugong Island and its facilities are leased back to the U.K. until 11 Nov 1940.
In 1938, the Roman Catholic Independent Mission of Weihai was promoted to Apostolic Prefecture of Weihai but it has been vacant (dormant) since 1970.
In 1949, Weihaiwei City was established, and its name was shortened to Weihai after the Communist revolution.
Weihai is a commercial port and major fishing center with some light industries. Due to its close proximity to South Korea, Weihai also has a large Korean business community and receives many Korean tourists. Weihai is also a key production area for peanuts and fruit.
Weihai Economic & Technological Development Zone is a state-level development zone approved by the State Council on October 21, 1992. The administrative area has an area of 194 km2 (75 sq mi), including the programmed area of 36 km2 (14 sq mi) and an initial area of 11.88 km2 (4.59 sq mi). Its nearest port is Weihai Port, and the airport closest to the zone is Wuhai Airport.
Weihai Export Processing Zone (EPZ) was set up by the approval of the State Council on April 27, 2000. Weihai EPZ is located in Weihai Economic & Technological Development Zone with programmed area of 2.6 km2 (1.0 sq mi). Weihai EPZ belongs to comprehensive export & processing zone. The EPZ is located 30 km (19 mi) from Weihai Airport, 3 km (1.9 mi) to Weihai Railway Station and 4 km (2.5 mi) from Weihai Harbor.
Weihai Torch Hi-Tech Science Park is a state-level development zone approved by the State Council on March 1991. Located in Weihai's northwest zone of culture, education and science, the Park has the total area of 111.9 km2 (43.2 sq mi), a coastline of 30.5 km (19.0 mi) and 150,000 residents. It is 3 km (1.9 mi) away from the city center, 4 km (2.5 mi) away from Weihai Port, 10 km (6.2 mi) away from Weihai Railway Station, 30 km (19 mi) away from Weihai Airport and 80 km (50 mi) away from Yantai Airport.
Weihai Airport serves the city with regular service to Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Harbin domestically and the Korean cities of Seoul and Pusan, as the fourth busiest airport in Shandong following Qingdao, Jinan and Yantai.
Qingdao-Rongcheng Intercity Railway offers the high-speed rail services directly to Shanghai Hongqiao, Beijing South, Jinan, Jimo North (Qingdao North soon) and Yantai, with four rail stations, Weihai, Weihai North, Wendeng East and Rongcheng.
As for conventional rail services, The K8262 and K8264 trains depart every day at 7:17 AM and 9:52 PM respectively for Jinan, the provincial capital, the K412 goes directly to Beijing at 7:49 PM, and the No. 1064 train leaves at 8:27 AM for Hankou, one of the two railway stations of Wuhan, Hubei. Internally, the city is served by about 50 bus routes.
The prefecture-level city of Weihai administers four county-level divisions, including two districts and two county-level cities.
These are further divided into 66 township-level divisions, including 52 towns and 14 subdistricts.
Weihai is located on the north-eastern seashore of Shandong, and its administrative area includes Chengshantou (成山头), the eastern tip of the Shandong Peninsula (or Shantung Peninsula). The city is surrounded by sea on three sides and its harbour is protected by Liugong Island.
Weihai lies in the transition zone between a Humid subtropical and humid continental climate (Köppen Cwa/Dwa), but as it is at the eastern end of the Shandong Peninsula, its climate is strongly influenced by the surrounding Yellow Sea: springtime warming and autumn cooling are delayed by one month, winds are generally high, and the average diurnal temperature variation throughout the year is small—at only 6.73 °C (12.1 °F). Winters are cold and dry, but still warmer than inland places located at the same latitude; the average temperature in January is −0.9 °C (30.4 °F). Summers are hot and humid, and August averages 24.7 °C (76.5 °F); the annual mean is 12.48 °C (54.5 °F). More than two-thirds of the annual precipitation occurs from June to September, and there are nearly 2,540 hours of sunshine per year.
Campuses of Shandong University, Harbin Institute of Technology, Beijing Jiaotong University are located in Weihai.The minor planet 207931 Weihai is named after this city.