Quick Facts

• Population: 16.67 Million (2016)
• Nominal GDP: £181 Billion (2016)
• China’s 3rd largest economy for the last 25 years
• 8.3% Nominal GDP increase in 2016
• US$50 billion of FDI since 1978

Guangzhou is the capital and largest city of China’s most affluent province, Guangdong. Founded over 2,000 years ago, Guangzhou, or “Canton” has historically been a springboard for international trade and cultural exchange. Guangzhou had a central role in many rebellions of the modern era and the shaping of modern China.

Guangzhou has long been the top choice of multinationals for direct foreign investment in China since the “reform and opening-up” policy started in 1978. Today, Guangzhou is at the centre of a key Chinese manufacturing heartland, the Pearl River Delta (PRD). The PRD has seen average GDP growth of over 13% for the last 30 years, even more astounding than the national average. Guangzhou itself has 76 institutions of higher learning, and nearly 800,000 students, creating an abundance of qualified labor to serve its industries.

Food is the centerpiece of life in Guangzhou and the city has China’s highest number of restaurants per capita. Chinese food served in the UK is typically a Westernized adaptation of the “Cantonese” cuisine served in restaurants across Guangzhou.

Key Industries

• Automotive and auto-parts
• Petrochemical
• Biological and pharmaceutical
• Conventions and exhibitions
• Finance
• Logistics

Key Development Zones and Enterprises

Three Key Development Zones

1. Guangzhou Development District was established in 1984 as one of the earliest development zones in China. It is advantageously located only two-hour drive from key PRD cities Hong Kong, Macao, Shenzhen and Zhuhai. Industrial output trebled in the five years following China’s 2001 accession to the WTO.

2. Nansha Development Zone includes and IT park, a service outsourcing base, and a centre for biopharmaceutical research. It is also a centre for shipbuilding and the auto industry with Guangzhou Toyota’s main plant located there.

3. Zengcheng Economic and Technological Development Zone has developed as a hub for the advanced manufacturing industry, hi-tech industries and modern service industries.

Two Important Companies

1. Guangzhou Automobile Group (GAC) was the first Chinese state-owned automobile enterprise to become a publically listed company. They manufacture both vehicles and a wide range automotive components. In 2012 they manufactured around 800,000 vehicles under their main brand. GAC have set up separate joint ventures with various Japanese automakers to produce vehicles for the China market, including Honda, Toyota cars, and Isuzu buses.

2. Xiangxue Pharmaceutical was founded in 1997 to focus on the production of traditional Chinese medicinal products. They since have built up the largest manufacturing base for oral medicinal products in South China. Today Xiangxue has 16 subsidiaries covering pharmaceutical, beverages, healthy snacks and biological engineering. In 2007, the company opened the XiangCam Traditional Chinese Medicine Research Centre at the Babraham Research Campus in Cambridge, UK.

Economic Highlights

• Focusing on the construction of hub city network, Guangzhou enhances the three international strategic hub functions.
• Construction of large traffic integrated network. Guangzhou improves traffic micro-circulation, develops urban slow traffic system.
• Guangzhou develops the real economy in a more important position and promotes stable and healthy development of the real estate market.

Useful Online Resources

The Official Website of Guangzhou Government
Guangzhou Municipal Commission of Commerce
China Council for The Promotion of International Trade, Guangdong Sub-council
British Consulate-General Guangzhou