Administratively, Hui'an is a county in Quanzhou prefecture, and the term "Hui'an" can refer either to the county or to the town that is its main center. The area is a mixture or urban and rural. County population is around a million, and about 300,000 of those are in the town.
Hui'an County is famous for the peculiar way the locals would traditionally build their houses: instead of using bricks and tiles (like most of China), adobe (as, e.g. can be seen in the tulou country in south-western Fujian), or irregularly shaped stones, Hui'an builders would use long, narrow rectangular blocks of locally mined granite. Both building walls and its roof could be constructed out of such blocks; in addition, similar stone blocks would be used to build storage sheds, temples, retaining walls, bridges, and even fences. Although this technique can be found elsewhere on southern Fujian coast as well, in Hui'an it may be most commonly found. While cheaper modern building materials are extensively used today, beautiful buildings and structures created using the traditional technique can still be found in many towns and villages around Hui'an, in particular inside the walled town of Chongwu.
These days, Hui'an craftsmen have turned their stoneworking skills to serving the national market. The entire 25 km long road from Hui'an county seat to Chongwu (county road X308) is lined with stone statue firms, their wares - statues of Buddha and Boddhisatvas, Confucius and Mao Zedong, dragons and elephants, as well as garden sculptures - filling their front yards. Other statues are installed along the road permanently.