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.
A cotton mill was opened in 1958, and a thermal generating plant, using coal from Huainan, was established in the early 1950s.
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.
When the Chinese Republic was founded in 1911, the superior prefecture was abolished, and the city took the name of Hefei.
Located in the central portion of the province, it borders Huainan to the north, Chuzhou to the northeast, Wuhu to the southeast, Tongling to the south, Anqing to the southwest and Lu'an to the west.
Hefei is one of the only three China National Comprehensive Science Center cities, along with Beijing and Shanghai.
In 1932–36, however, a Chinese company built a railway linking Hefei with Yuxikou (on the Yangtze opposite Wuhu) to the southeast and with the Huai River at Huainan to the north.
It also became the seat of an industry producing industrial chemicals and chemical fertilizers.
In the late 1950s an iron and steel complex was built.
Hefei has become one of the fastest growing cities all over China since 2010.
It is the political, economic, and cultural center of Anhui.