Guangzhou and Guangdong: What is the difference? 10/21/2010

Guangzhou and Guangdong: What is the difference?

In today’s post I will demystify the difference between two similar-looking words, with two very different meanings. Guangdong (pronounced Gwong-dong) is Southern China’s economic center and one of the wealthiest provinces in China.  Guangzhou (pronounced Gwong-jhoe) is the largest city in the Guangdong province and has been China’s leading international commercial port for over 2,000 years. Guangzhou is the political, economic and cultural center of the province. (See map below)

Guangdong Guangzhou
Type Province City
Location Southeastern China Coast Guangdong Province
Population 95.44 Million USD (2008) 7.6072 Million (2006)
GDP 572.12 Billion USD(2009) 133.5 Billion USD (2009)
FDI 19.2 Billion USD (2009) 11.244 Billion USD (2009)


How did Guangzhou become so strong?

Guangzhou, also called Canton or Kwangchow, is one of the biggest economic zones in China (3rd to be exact), thanks to its proximity to the extremely successful regions of Hong Kong, Macau and its premier access to the Pearl River Delta. The success of these regions began spilling over into Guangdong when labor rates began to increase with the cost of living in Hong Kong. Guangdong’s labor wages are about half of the average monthly wage in Hong Kong.

Guangzhou has grown quickly by offering investment incentives that have helped to attract over 170 of the world’s top 500 multinational companies. The foreign enterprises contributed 11.244 Billion (USD) in foreign capital in 2009; which is over half of the entire province’s FDI. Guangzhou is now the main manufacturing core of the Pearl River Delta region.

Building strength over time, Guangzhou earned 133.5 Billion (USD) GDP in 2009. That is nearly 25% of the entire province’s gross domestic product! With this accomplishment, Guangzhou became the first city in Mainland China to have a per capita GDP of over 10,000 USD.

There is so much going on there!

Guangzhou is also home to the China Import and Export Fair (aka the Canton Fair) which takes place every October and April. The Canton Fair is by far China’s largest and oldest trade fair that been running for over 50 years. Each fair now stretches over three days in order to fit in all of the participants and exhibitors.

Some impressive stats about the Canton Fair:

>200,000 Buyers
>200 countries in attendance
>23,000 Exhibitors
>55,000 Booths
>200 Football Fields in Area (>1.1 Million Sq. Meters)

Some helpful resources I found:

Guangdong Manufacturing & Investment Guide

Guangzhou Government Resource

Invest Guangzhou

Canton Fair Resource

Another China Resource

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