Square: 7,434 km2 – Population: 14.04 million (2016)
Guangzhou, also known as Canton, a prosperous metropolis full of vigor, is the capital city of Guangdong Province located along the south coastline of China. Being an excellent port on the Pearl River navigable to the South China Sea, and with fast accessibility to Hong Kong and Macau, the city serves as the political, economic, scientific, educational and cultural center in Guangdong area. Being the first city that benefited from the Reform and Opening Up policy enacted in 1978, the city acts as the pioneer for the economic development of the country, with numerous small and medium businesses and large corporate enterprises headquartered there. Guangzhou is especially prosperous in commerce, finance, manufacturing, real estate, technology and tourism. The city is a heavily populated area that offers many job opportunities in the companies and enterprises located there.
Guangzhou became a part of China more than 2,200 years ago. Hindu and Arab merchants reached Guangzhou in the 10th century, and the city became the first Chinese port regularly visited by European traders. In 1511, Portugal secured a trade monopoly, but the British broke the monopoly in the late 17th century. In the 18th century the French and Dutch were also admitted. The Chinese government attempted to limit trading and contact with the Europeans but was forced to open up following the Opium Wars and the Treaty of Nanjing in 1842, which opened the city to foreign trade. Following a disturbance, French and British forces occupied Guangzhou in 1856. Later, the island of Shumen (Shaman) was ceded to them for business and residential purposes, and the reclaimed sandbank with its broad avenues, gardens, and fine buildings, which were known for their beauty. The island was restored to China in 1946.
Guangzhou was the seat of the revolutionary movement under Sun Yat-sen; in 1911 the Republic of China was proclaimed there. From Guangzhou the Nationalist armies of Chiang Kai-shek marched northward in the 1920s to establish a government in Nanjing. In 1927, Guangzhou was briefly the seat of one of the earliest Communist communes in China. The fall of Guangzhou to the Communist armies in late October 1949 signaled the Communist takeover of all of China. Under the Communist government, Guangzhou has been developed as a Special Economic Zone with a rapidly expanding industrial center and a modern port that enjoys vibrant trade with Hong Kong and the rest of the world.
A bastion of China’s Lingnan (southern) culture, Guangzhou has a 2,200-year-old history. Known as the ‘Flower City’ and ‘City of Rams’, it’s also one of the country’s most dynamic cities and has been listed as China’s second city with the greatest change by Forbes magazine for two consecutive years.
You can explore both the ancient and recent history of Guangzhou at Nanyue King’s Museum, Guangxiao Temple, Baiyun Mountain, Zhenhai Tower and Dr. Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall. And you can witness China’s spectacular transformation into modernity at the Canton Tower, the Asian Games Town, Pazhou International Convention and Exhibition Center, Guangdong Science Center and at the Chimelong Tourism Resorts
The city offers visitors a vibrant city that combines beautiful views of the Pearl River, traditional diversions such as Cantonese opera and the circus, local and internal quality sports, and on the city’s bar streets and within its cozy hotels, the option to enjoy a vibrant nightlife or a more chilled-out pace.
And of course there is the food. Guangzhou is the stronghold of the world’s most popular style of Chinese cooking – Cantonese cuisine. For travellers, one of the best ways to enjoy the city’s ancient cuisine heritage is by trying the traditional snacks that can be found on street corners and in various food stalls locate in alleys and small streets that are popular with locals. Shahe rice noodles, wonton noodles, shrimp dumplings, steamed pork dumplings and Sampan porridge are Guangzhou’s well-known foods. With more than 30,000 restaurants open throughout the city, visitors can easily find local or international foods that will satisfy all of their cravings.
Guangzhou is one of the largest cities in China and is a Special Economic Zone (SEZ) as well as a major finance, manufacturing, logistics and trade center. It is also a major transportation hub, offering air, land and water-based connections to many domestic and international destinations.
As a SEZ, Guangzhou has an important trading relationship with Hong Kong. The area has an integrated steel complex, paper mills, a long-established textile industry (silk, cotton, jute, and more recently synthetic fibers), and factories producing tractors, machinery, machine tools, newsprint, refined sugar, small appliances, tires, bicycles, sports equipment, porcelain, cement, and chemicals.
Traditional arts and crafts, principally ivory and jade carvings, are still produced for export in China as well as the rest of the world. The city has a highly integrated transportation network that includes a large international airport; the Guangzhou-Jiulong Railroad connecting to Hong Kong, the Guangzhou-Wuhan Railroad, various highways that were completed in the 1990s as well as water transportation along the Pearl River. Guangzhou is one of the marketplaces for China's world trade; great national trade expositions, held there every spring and fall (since 1957), attract thousands of business people from all over the world.
Guangzhou is also one of China's most important automobile manufacturing hubs. Japanese manufacturers including Toyota, Honda and Nissan have invested in factories and plants that are located in the city and a comprehensive automobile supply chain has developed in the area.
The high-end electronic information industry has also been developing rapidly in Guangzhou. A variety of both domestic and international companies, including CNOCC, Ericsson, Haier, Libby Panasonic, Petro China, P&G, Sinopec and Sony have set headquarters and started business in Guangzhou.