Pearl River Delta
Economically and linguistically, the Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and Macau are very much part of the PRD. However, they are administratively and politically quite different. This article therefore does not include them.
- Guangzhou - the capital of the province, largest city, economic and cultural center
- Dongguan - center for the garment trade, between Guangzhou and Shenzhen
- Foshan - industrial city near Guangzhou, to the southwest
- Shenzhen - boom town on border with Hong Kong, SEZ
- Zhongshan - center for furniture trade, just inland of Zhuhai
- Zhuhai - fast growing town on border with Macau, SEZ
Shenzhen and Zhuhai are Special Economic Zones (SEZs) where various government programs encourage investment.
This region has always been one of China's major centers for foreign trade, from the days of the Maritime Silk Road through the era of tea clippers and into recent times.
Guangdong province does about a third of China's total exporting, and most of that is from the Delta. The region is often referred to a "the world's workshop"; the largest product groups are clothing and electronics but the industrial base is extremely diverse; the range of products manufactured in the Delta is enormous.
From about 1978, when Deng Xiao Ping's "opening up" policies went into effect, to 2008, the Delta underwent absolutely frenzied development, partly fueled by heavy foreign and Hong Kong investment. GDP growth in industrialised countries was generally 0 to 4% a year. China managed 8 or 9% overall national growth every year for over a decade. The Delta was the fastest-growing region at around 15% a year!
As of early 2009, the Delta is the region of China hit hardest by the world economic slowdown and the falloff in export trade. It is not yet clear how this will play out.
Guangzhou and Hong Kong both have major international airports. Both are new; Hong Kong's opened in 1998 and Guangzhou's in 2004.
Shenzhen, Zhuhai and Macau also have large modern airports, all built or greatly expanded since 1990.
The region is also well connected to the rest of China by road and rail.
The entire region is well connected by highways and any city or town in the region is easily reached by bus.
Guangzhou is a major rail hub with connections to anywhere in China, including to Shenzhen and Hong Kong. Recently the Guangzhou-Shenzhen line has been upgraded to form part of China's high-speed rail network. There is no railway to Zhuhai or Macau yet (as of early 2009), but a high-speed line is under construction.
There is a good system of passenger ferries, mostly fast hovercraft, connecting the main cities on the Pearl River estuary — Hong Kong and Shenzhen on the East side, Macau and Zhuhai on the West.
All the cities have good local bus systems (but watch for pickpockets) and plentiful taxis. Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Hong Kong also have subways.
The area is heavily infested with pickpockets.
This page was last edited at 09:01, on 20 March 2009 by Wikitravel user Pashley.