Guangzhou is the capital city, seaport, and industrial and commercial center of Guangdong in southeastern China This busiest port city in southern China is located in the south-central part of Guangdong Province, about 120 km northwest of Hong Kong at the northern head of the large delta basin of the Chu Chiang River Guangzhou has been one of China’s major trading centers for centuries due to its location at the junction of several inland rivers and seas. The area of the original Guangzhou city is about 280 square kilometers; The area of the greater city is about 3,843 square kilometers and the area of the Guangzhou metropolitan area is about 7,434 square kilometers. According to the 2010 census and the commentary of the then mayor Wanqing Liang, the city had about 1.3 million registered residents and another 50 million or half a million floating residents. According to the 2010 population, Guangzhou is a megacity, the largest city in southern China and the 3rd largest city in the whole of China (after Beijing and Shanghai). As of the end of 2018, the city authorities estimated that the registered population of Guangzhou City was about 1.49 million and the population growth rate was about 3.8%.
Administratively, the city of Guangzhou is given the status of a sub-province. It is one of China’s nine national capital cities.
Geographically, the Guangzhou city center is located 6 km south of the foot of a very high (382 m) mountain called Northern Pai Yun (White Cloud). The Chu Chiang River runs just south of the city center. It emerges as a tributary of the Shi River and later joins the Tung River to form the northern boundary of the southern Chuqiang Delta basin. The climate of Guangzhou city is influenced by humid subtropical and monsoonal winds. The humid, hot summers are characterized by heavy rainfall and occasional typhoons. Farming is done and produced throughout the year. In addition, Guangzhou has been named the “City of Flowers” (Huacheng) because of the variety of flowers that bloom throughout the year.
Guangzhou is one of the most densely populated cities in China. Local residents speak the Yue language, which is different from the Mandarin language spoken by the majority of Chinese. However, with the influx of migrant workers from northern and eastern China in search of work, Mandarin is becoming increasingly popular. In the first half of the 20th century, a large number of residents from Guangzhou emigrated to various Western countries, and in the 1980s many of them returned to the mother city. Temporary workers from other provinces and Western returnees have changed the demographic makeup of Guangzhou. In addition, in the wake of the economic crisis in Southeast Asia in the late 1990s, large numbers of black African-descended temporary migrants from there and later from the Middle East arrived in Guangzhou in the first decade of the 21st century. This resulted in further changes in the demographic structure of the city.
There is not much reliable information about the founding of Guangzhou. It is an ancient locality that was annexed by the Chinese Empire in the 3rd century BC. Later, the importance of the city increased during the reign of the Ming dynasty. Guangzhou was the first Chinese seaport open to foreigners. From the 3rd century AD, Arab, Persian, Indian and other Asian traders regularly visited the port for business. From the 16th century, Portuguese traders from Europe arrived here in search of silk and porcelain goods. First the English in the late 17th century and later in the 18th century the French and Dutch traders entered here. Europeans called the city “Canton” or something like that. The Opium War (1839-1842) between the Chinese and the Europeans occurred when Guangzhou resisted the British opium trade. The Chinese were defeated in the war, and in 1842 Kwangchow was partially opened to foreign trade by the Treaty of Kwangju. But the British and French controlled the city from 1856 to 1861 due to continued trade restrictions. Finally in 1861 a char on the upper Chu River (later transformed into Sha-Mien Island) was fully opened to foreigners for trade and settlement. In the late 19th century, the city of Guangzhou became a kind of seat of the revolutionary political ideas of the Chinese Nationalist Party. Guangzhou was one of the centers of the democratic revolution in China led by Sun Yat-sen (Sun Chungshan) in 1911-12. As a result of this revolution, the Republic of China was established; Kuomintang, the main political party at the time, had its primary headquarters in Quang Chow. In the 1920s, massive urban redevelopment activities began. During World War II from 1938 to 1945, the Japanese bombed and controlled the city of Guangzhou. In 1946, Sha-Mien Island was returned to China by foreigners. After World War II the city flourished as an industrial center. Along with industrial expansion and municipal development, beautification and port development activities are also carried out. Guangzhou was designated a designated economic zone for foreign investment in 1984, along with several other cities, when China’s trade relations with the West were reestablished. The city’s booming economy helps boost the economy of the entire Kwangtung province.
For a long time Guangzhou was the only port in China to which the majority of foreign merchants had access. After the city fell to the British in the First Opium War, this monopoly status was eroded and Guangzhou lost much of its trade to other ports such as Shanghai and Hong Kong. Even so, it retains its status as a major art city. Currently, Guangzhou has factories for food (especially sugar) processing, textiles, steel, paper, cement, chemical fertilizers, chemicals, automobiles and machinery. The city is connected to the sea coast by a deep-water harbor called Huangfu. Apart from this, Guangzhou city is connected with Hong Kong and Beijing by rail. Guangzhou is an important foreign trade center of China. According to PAULSOURCING, several important international trade fairs are organized here every year, of which the Canton Fair is the oldest and largest. For three consecutive years from 2013 to 2015, the international English-language business magazine Forbes ranked Guangzhou as the best business city in mainland China. Together with the neighboring cities of Foshan, Tongquan, Chungshan and Shenzhen, the city of Guangzhou forms one of the largest urban agglomerations in the world, named the Pearl River Delta Economic Zone. It is located in the heart of mainland China’s largest metropolitan area.
Guangzhou is also a leading center in China for education. Founded in 1924, Chungshan (Sun Yat Sen) University, a medical institute of higher learning, a technical university, an agricultural research institute and many other higher education institutions are located here.
Among the attractions in Guangzhou city are Sha-mien Island, where foreign merchants lived in the past; A temple built during the Ming Dynasty 1368-1644 AD, which has now been converted into a Peasant Movement Institute; Temple of the Six Banyan Trees and its pagoda; A 14th-century towering observation post (now the box-shaped Guangzhou Museum) located within Yue Xiu City Park; the blue-roofed Sun Yat-sen Memorial Auditorium; and a mosque, claimed by some to be the oldest mosque in China. The Chen Clan Ancestral Hall is a temple area built in 1894, which houses the Kwangtung Folk Art Museum. Modernist buildings and structures include the avant-garde Zaha Hadid-designed Guangzhou Opera House (also known as the “Two Pebbles”) and one of the city’s most visible symbols, the Canton TV Tower, a slender hourglass-shaped skyscraper.
In 2010, the Asian Games were held in Guangzhou.