Guangdong Province is located in the southeast of China¡¯s mainland where it occupies an area of 178,000 square kilometers. Its many islands add a further 1,600 square kilometers. To the south it meets the warm waters of the South China Sea along a coastline of 3,368 km. The Tropic of Cancer runs through the center of this low latitude province where the Pearl River, at 2,122 km the third longest in China, meets the sea. The fertile Pearl River Delta is well-known as a land rich in fish and rice
The province is high in the north and low in the south. Mountains make up 31.7 percent of the total area, hilly areas 28.5 percent, terraced farmland 16.1 percent and plains 23.7 percent. It has 3.12 million hectares of farmland, 10.25 million hectares devoted to forestry and 570,000 hectares of underdeveloped grasslands.
Most areas enjoy a subtropical monsoon climate with adequate rainfall, long summers and warm winters. Annual precipitation averages 1,336 mm while annual evaporation averages 1,100 mm so Guangdong is moist. Its average annual temperature is 22 ¡ãC and it averages 1,828 hours of sunshine a year. Guangdong is a green place where plants grow vigorously all the year round.
Guangdong boasts rich mineral resources. So far, a total of 116 different mineral ores have been discovered and 89 have been surveyed. Its coal deposits are put at 547 million tons, iron ore at 553 million tons and pyrite at 445 million tons. It has 34 minerals ranking in the top five deposits nationwide. Its deposits of peat, vein quartz, kaolin clay, trachyte, germanium and tellurium all rank first in the country.
Forests cover 57 percent of the province with standing timber reserves of 300 million cubic meters. Species include pine, Chinese catalpa, fir and eucalyptus.
The province has extensive access to the sea together with a network of interconnected waterways with many reservoirs and fish ponds. It is rich in aquatic products. Its marine breeding areas cover 780,000 hectares and it has a further 430,000 hectares of freshwater breeding areas. The main crops are rice, vegetables and fruit. Zhanjiang is the main center for sisal hemp while fruit production is predominately based around Maoming. Among the 200 varieties of fruit grown in Guangdong are pineapples, bananas and litchi, together with longans and oranges.
The province has a theoretical reserved hydropower capacity of 10.73 million KW and a practical capacity of 6.66 million KW, of which 60 percent has been harnessed.
There are 40 forest parks and 30 nature reserves designated at provincial level. Guangdong is now seeing more and more of its cities designated as ¡°Excellent Tourist Cities¡± for the list now includes Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Zhaoqing, Zhongshan, Foshan, Jiangmen, Shantou, Huizhou and Hainan. In particular Zhongshan and Hainan rank first and second among the cities at prefecture and county levels to have been awarded this honor.
Development of the tourism triangle based on Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao has now taken off. The State Council has approved the introduction of a 144-hour visa endorsement service in 10 cities in the Zhujiang River Delta and Shantou City.
Eleven of the province¡¯s scenic spots and scenic areas are now graded 4-A designating them as top quality tourist areas:
1. Baiyun Hill in Guangzhou
2. Xiangjiang Wildlife Park in Guangzhou
3. Overseas Chinese Town in Shenzhen
4. Guanlan Golf Course in Shenzhen
5. Yuanming New Park in Zhuhai
6. Dr. Sun Yat-sen¡¯s birthplace in Zhongshan
7. Star Lake in Zhaoqing
8. Mount Sijiao in Foshan
9. Mount Danxia in Shaoguan
10. Qingxin Hot Springs in Qingyuan
11. Hailing Island¡¯s Dajiao Bay in Yangjiang
Environment and current issues:
In 2003 water quality was generally fine in the major rivers throughout the province¡¯s four main river systems. However rivers running through cities and slow flowing rivers remain severely polluted. Of 106 provincially-controlled sections, 62 satisfied the water quality standard for Grades I to III.
Nineteen of 21 regional level cities in the province achieved state standard, second-grade air quality. However in some parts, air quality has been deteriorating to a certain extent.
Some 245 million yuan aimed at bringing environmental pollution under control was expended in the year with 1,697 projects completed on schedule. A total of 386 polluting enterprises were closed down, suspended, merged with other enterprises, asked to amend their product lines or relocated.
The province now has 174 smog-control zones covering 2,913 sq. km and there are 228 zones meeting environmental noise standards covering 1,675 sq. km. While the urban acoustic environment in the province remained generally stable, some 76 percent of urban traffic is now considered to be particularly good in terms of noise levels.
There are 209 nature reserves across the province. They cover a total area of 3.055 million hectares of which 808,000 are land-based representing 4.5 percent of the land area of Guangdong.
There are 117 ecological demonstration zones with a total area of 3,056,000 hectares. 99.8 percent of construction projects included an environmental audit in 2003.
According to preliminary calculations, the province's GDP reached some 1,345 billion yuan, in 2003, up 13.6 percent year-on-year.
GDP ratio (1st, 2nd and tertiary industries):
In 2003, value-added within the primary industries was some 105 billion yuan (up 1.2 percent), in the secondary industries the figure was 705 billion yuan (up 18.0 percent) and in the tertiary industries, 535 billion yuan (up 10.8 percent).
In 2003 total foreign trade amounted to some US$284 billion (up 28.3 percent year-on-year). Of this figure, exports contributed US$153 billion (up of 29.1 percent) and imports US$131 billion (up 27.3 percent) realizing a positive balance of trade which was up US$6 billion at US$22 billion.
Bilateral trade with the province¡¯s major trading partners reached new highs during the year. Total trade with Hong Kong stood at US$59 billion (up 24.4 percent), the United States US$45 billion (up 22.8 percent), Japan US$35 billion (up 29.6 percent) and the EU US$31 billion (up 30.6 percent).
The top-ten bilateral trading partners in order by value were: Hong Kong, the U.S.A., Japan, Taiwan, Korea, Germany, Malaysia, Singapore, the Netherlands and Thailand.
The total number of new contracts signed during 2003 was 2 percent down in the year at 11, 472, however the value continued to grow with direct contracted foreign funding reaching some US$24 billion (up 29.4 percent).
Foreign funding actually put in place amounted to US$19 billion (up 14.2 percent) through 7,306 foreign direct investment projects (up 10.5 percent). These represented contracts involving US$22 billion of foreign funding (up 34.7 percent) with foreign capital transfers of US$16 billion (up 18.8 percent).
The contracted capital for FDI (foreign direct investment) projects averaged almost US$3 million, an increase of US$537,000. Meanwhile 627 projects topped the US$10 million mark either in their funding for new projects or in additional funding for existing projects and together these larger value projects represented contracted foreign investment of US$10 billion.
Foreign funding amounted to US$179 million in the primary industries (up 12.6 percent), US$11 billion in the secondary industries (up 12.0 percent) and US$4 billion in the tertiary industries (up 41.8 percent).
The investment of foreign capital was most evident in the manufacture of electronic and telecommunications equipment with US$2,366 million, real estate with US$1,550 million and social services with US$850 million.
New FDI contracts were signed with Hong Kong investment sources to the value of US$10 billion in 2003 (up 28.8 percent) with funds actually put in place approaching US$9 billion (up 23.9 percent). Contracts were signed with EU sources to the value of US$500 million (up 63.1 percent) with US$740 million put in place (up 114.7 percent).
Direct investment from other countries and regions also increased markedly with Korea up some 90 percent, ASEAN up 12 percent, Canada up 31 percent, Australia up 56 percent and New Zealand up 15 percent.
The top-ten sources of FDI in terms of capital actually transferred were: Hong Kong, the Virgin Islands, the U.S.A., Taiwan, Japan, Singapore, the Netherlands, Macao, Western Samoa and the Cayman Islands.
The year 2003 saw 4.3 billion yuan allocated to the poorest areas in the east, west and north of Guangdong. The money went as relief to those living below the poverty line and to a fund that provides for topping-up salaries. Out of the total figure, 1.2 billion yuan was targeted to programs in the 16 key poor counties. Since October the government has paid the salaries of all teachers and employees of government offices directly in order to guarantee that they are paid regularly and on time.
Each year since 2001, the provincial government has allocated more than 300 million yuan to support the children of poor rural families with annual net incomes below 1,500 yuan per head. This covers their fees for books and certain miscellaneous expenses throughout their time in compulsory education.
Last year, 600,000 children from poor rural families got their schooling completely free. The provincial government has also established a special fund to support middle and primary schools in mountainous and economically underdeveloped areas and new teaching programs in information technology and English are being piloted.
The province places an emphasis on infrastructure projects in such fields as communications, telecommunications and energy as a means of improving the environment for economic development in its mountainous and economically underdeveloped areas.
The provincial government has set up a special fund to support highway construction in the 16 key poor counties. It is speeding up the construction of a network of highways to link the central cities with the eastern and western parts and with the mountainous northern area of the province. Expressways now connect the four mountain cities of Qingyuan, Shaoguan, Heyuan and Meizhou with the Pearl River Delta.
Household electric appliances, plastic products, foodstuffs, garments, textiles, electronics, electric power generation and metallurgy
There are four railway companies in the province. Major rail lines running through Guangdong include Beijing to Kowlong, Beijing to Guangzhou, Guangzhou to Meixian, and Shantou and Sanshui to Maoming.
A total of 1,689 km of highways at fourth-grade or above were constructed in 2003, of which new express highways accounted for 562 km and upgraded highways 333 km.
The province has more than 100 ports, including Huangpu, Zhanjiang, Shekou and Chiwan. Five quays were either built or extended in 2003, a year in which the volume of freight handled reached some 2.4 million tons.
The province has eight civil airports. Its Baiyun Airport is one of the top three international airports in China in terms of passenger handling capacity. By the end of 2003 it had 23 domestic and five international routes
Guangzhou has more than 11 million inhabitants spreading over an area of 7.434 square kilometers. It is the provincial capital of Guangdong province and an important trading center located just 125 kilometers northwest of Hong Kong on the Pearl River. It is well known that the spoken language in Guangzhou is Cantonese. The most common difference between the Cantonese and Mandarin is its tones. While Mandarin consists of four tones, Cantonese uses nine tones to make themselves clear. Cantonese is the most common dialect used by emigrated overseas Chinese because Guangzhou was overcrowded for a long time ago. As a result, many people from this region emigrated to foreign continents.
Those who will visit this dynamic city for the first time will directly notice its speed of business, the exploding crowdedness and sense for natural beauty with ever-green scenery and flowers blooming all the year round. But just don`t get scared because of all the high-rise buildings. It all may look a bit overwhelming but in the end the city shows a more personable and gentler side that anyone definitely will like.
It is advisable to travel around October, November and December as the temperatures and humidity in these few months are quite comfortable comparing to the unbearable heat and humidity in the hot summer.
Today, Guangzhou is recognized as China`s most prosperous, liberal and cosmopolitan city. Foreigners are not a strange visual sight here. Unlike in any other cities where foreigners do get some public attention, people from Guangzhou just treat them as one of their own. This is because Guangzhou has been a major entry point for overseas culture for many centuries.
There are various places within easy reach of Guangzhou that would make worthwhile trip destinations and could be visited easily within a day. Take a look at the Guangxiao temple and experience Guangzhou`s oldest site or walk besides the canals and peach orchards nearby Xinjiao Town. If you are fed up with Guangzhou and you feel like to visit Asia`s world city Hong Kong then that`s just a matter of three hours` traveling.
The major tourist attractions in Guangzhou are: Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall, Chen`s Ancestral Shrine, Temple of Six Banyan Trees, Original Xiguan Architecture, Yuexiu Park, Guangxiao temple or the Pearl River Cruise.
Shenzhen, situated just across the border from Hong Kong, is a beautiful coastal garden city in South China. It is a city of sunshine and modernity, where economic development keeps pace with social development, and people live in harmony with nature.
Shenzhen which is the China's first special economic zone established via the patronage of the late Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping is a pioneering and innovative city. It is in the vanguard of China's reforms and opening up to the rest of the world. In its short history of 30 years, Shenzhen has developed from a small fishing village into a modern city with a gross domestic product (GDP) per capita which gives it premier ranking in China. This is a remarkable achievement, notable in the annals of urbanization, industrialization and modernization across the globe.?
As Shenzhen embraces the world, concomitantly it is becoming internationalized. As China's first special economic zone, Shenzhen began to open up to the rest of the world in 1980, and became one of the country's major channels of communication with the outside world. Shenzhen has 17 sea, land and air ports, including China's largest land passenger port and land cargo port. In 2011, the 26th Universiade will be held here, which will make Shenzhen the youngest city to host the Games in history.
Shenzhen is a city with deep cultural roots that sit in tandem with its creative and modern ethos. It is said to have a history of 5,000 years, but was only founded 30 years ago. Since its foundation, Shenzhen has created a migrant culture and an innovative spirit of "encouraging innovation and pursuing excellence." At the forefront of Chinese cities in promoting the use of voluntary services, it boasts about 530,000 volunteers in various fields of activity. Moreover, given the high level of public services offered by the city's government departments, Shenzhen is one of China's "10 Most Welcomed Cities for Rural Migrant Workers."
Shenzhen is also one of the most important tourism cities in Mainland China and a very important base for making tourism profit in foreign currency, highly reputed as "China's Theme Park and Capital of Tourism Innovation". Particularly the Oversea Chinese Tourism Zone and Mission Hills Golf Club are the first batch top-grade Class AAA tourism zones. Shenzhen is highly favored with the tourism and transportation network with the stereoscopic vision, safe and swift convenience, easy access to the sea, inland and air ports and easy connection with thee inland, waterway and urban transport facilities, greatly bringing the development of food, residence, travel, tourism and amusement into coordination, gathering together the delicacies and famous, excellent and special variety and new commodities from all parts of the country and the world.
Shenzhen is a picture, a poem and a dream. Dubbed "Wonderful Shenzhen, A City of Joy," the city sincerely welcomes the arrival of friends from all over the world.
Foshan is located in the northern part of the Pearl River, 20 kilometers (12 miles) from Guangzhou, Guangdong Province. Foshan is made up of five districts: Chancheng, Shunde, San-shui, Nanhai and Gaoming Districts. The government seat is located in Chancheng District. Foshan is a vital part of an active economic zone comprising of Guangzhou in the east, and Hong Kong and Macau in the south. The transportation system of Foshan is well designed to facilitate traveling into or out of the city.
Foshan has a long history dating back to approximately 5,000 years. It gained its name from the three Buddha statues unearthed in this area in the Tang Dynasty (618-907). Having a temperate climate with abundant rainfall, it has been a land of fish and rice. Besides fishing and farming, the local craftsmen were also known for their skills in making ceramics. Thriving handicraft industries, commerce, and the arts made Foshan one of the four most famous towns in Tang and Song (960-1279) dynasties. Foshan has a reputation as the home of Chinese ceramic arts, Cantonese operas and martial arts.
Foshan is a modern city. It was one of the earliest ports to engage in foreign trade since Chinas open door policy. Foshan has become the third largest city in Guangdong Province, combining its manufacturing industries with tourism. In recent years, Foshan has committed its resources to further expand its vibrant tourism industry.
The number of the top attractions in Foshan is large. Highlights include Xiqiao Mountain and the Foshan Zumiao (Ancestral) Temple.
The Zumiao Commercial Street is a must-go place for shopping. There are big shopping malls and plazas where all kinds of local handicrafts can be found. In addition, there are many famous restaurants that serve fresh, tasty local delicacies. Cafes, pubs and teahouses add varieties for visitors to enjoy.
Dongguan is a prefecture-level city in central Guangdong province, People's Republic of China. An important industrial city located in the Pearl River Delta, Dongguan borders the provincial capital of Guangzhou to the north, Huizhou to the northeast, Shenzhen to the south, and Foshan to the west. It is also home to the world's largest shopping mall, South China Mall. City administration is considered especially progressive in seeking foreign direct investment (see below).
The urban center of Dongguan is 50 km away from that of Guangzhou to its north, 90 km away from Shenzhen to its south, 47 sea miles away from Hong Kong and 48 sea miles from Macao by waterway. Dongguan is a must-pass-by locality from Guangzhou to Hong Kong by road or waterway.
Dongguan has around 7 million inhabitants, although many are not official city residents. Many of the manufacturing facilities of the Dongguan area attract workers from far away towns and provinces, but these workers often cannot obtain official city residency. Such workers typically live in company supplied apartment buildings and visit their hometowns once or twice a year.
Dongguan is also a known hometown for many overseas Chinese, the root for over 700,000 people in Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macao and over 200,000 nationals living abroad.
Many foreign travelers to Dongguan fly into Hong Kong, where a visa not required for US and some European passport holders. After landing, visitors pass through Hong Kong immigration and customs.
One can travel from Hong Kong to Dongguan by bus, ferry, or train. Traveling via bus requires the visitor to ride the bus from the Hong Kong airport to the Hong Kong/China border, deboarding the bus, going through Chinese customs and immigration, then reboard the bus for the rest of the trip to Dongguan.
Using the ferry is the most convenient way to get there from Hong Kong, because it allows you to avoid queues at the very busy border checkpoints between Hong Kong and mainland China.
Foreign Direct Investment: City administration is considered especially progressive in seeking foreign direct investment. In 2005, the city hosted the first-ever Sino-American Forum of Intellectual Property Rights, co-organized by the Patent Protection Association of China - PPAC and the International Association for Technology Trade - IATT? as well as what has been identified as the world's largest educational technology conference and expo, co-organized by IATT and the International Society for Technology in Education - ISTE, attracting nearly 40,000 attendees in its first year.
The Dongguan Science & Technology Museum (opened in December 2005), the high tech commerce park in the SongShan Lake district (which debuted in 2003) and a partnership with the Global IT Academy of the Brea Olinda Unified School District in Southern California have demonstrated the city's emphasis on attracting technology business. The city also announced in 2005 a planned investment of US$500-Million over five years for technology infrastructure improvements.
While the city is the third largest exporting region in China, behind Shanghai and Shenzhen (and a major center for Taiwanese investment), outside of China, Dongguan has yet to gain the kind of name recognition realized by Shenzhen (just an hour away, and down-river from Dongguan). This may be because the city has placed an emphasis on investing in infrastructure, rather than directly targeting major corporations with financial incentives for economic development. Still, Dongguan has been identified by high level representatives of the National Development and Reform Commission - NDRC of the central government as being one of the most significant growth regions for technology in the coming years.