Zibo was once the capital of the ancient State of Qi, the most prosperous state during the Spring and Autumn and the Warring States Periods over 2,000 years ago in China. Lord Huan of Qi, ruler of Qi, appointed Guan Zhong, the famous thinker and economist, as his prime minister, and adopted Guan's thoughts and policies to administer his country, reform the economic system and develop relations with other states, After scores of years, Qi became the strongest state for its economic and military strength, and was named as the "state with one thousand chariots" and the "head of the five strongest states". The culture and education undertakings were rather developed in Qi. Both poetry and music were of high level. Linzi District remained its capital for as long as 638 years, and was them the biggest city in the then orient.
As the birthplace of the Qi Culture, Zibo has quite a number of cultural scenic spots. In the national city of history and culture, Linzi District, the ruins of the ancient Qi city, the pit for burying the funerary horses and chariots and other famous cultural relics and historic sites, have been discovered and unearthed. All of them exemplify the past prosperity of the Qi State. The ancient city of Qi, one of the first batch of cultural relics protection units, is rich in cultural relics and historical sites, and, therefore, has won the title of the "Underground Museum".
Development, reform and opening are the dynamics of Qi Culture. That is to say, the tradition of Qi of developing economics, advocating opening policy and enriching the state and benefiting the people has become the cultural background and historical resource for Zibo's constant development in economy, culture and opening to the world today.
In 2004, FIFA President Sepp Blatter visited Zibo to celebrate FIFA's 100 year anniversary. FIFA has since then recognized the city as the birthplace of football.