Guangdong province is located in the southernmost part of the Chinese mainland. It adjoins Fujian province in the east and Jiangxi and Hunan provinces in the north. To the west, it is Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, and to the south the South China Sea. China's second-largest river - the Pearl River - flows through Guangdong. To the east of the Pearl River Estuary, it is the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and to the west, Macao Special Administrative Region. The southwestern Leizhou Island in Guangdong is separated from Hainan province by the Qiongzhou Strait.
According to archaeological information, the history of the Guangdong people can be dated back to the Maba people, who lived around 100,000 years ago. During the Shang and Western Zhou dynasties (c. 16th century - 771 BC), Guangdong ancestors started trading and cultural exchanges with the Shang and Zhou kingdoms in Central Plains (comprising the middle and lower reach of the Yellow River). In 221 BC, Guangdong underwent an administrative division for the first time. After the establishment of the People's Republic of China, Guangdong made mild administrative adjustment based on historical divisions. In 1988, the province was divided into 18 (later 21) prefecture-level cities and applied a system whereby the prefecture-level cities manage the counties and the towns manage villages. The management system is used to this day.
Size and People
Covering an area of 179,700 square kilometers, of which 1,448 sq km are islands, the province has 21 prefecture-level cities. Guangdong is the province with the most complete representation of ethnic groups in China. The population of ethnic groups accounts for 3 percent of the total in the province, and mainly consists of the Zhuang, Yao, She, Hui and Man ethnic groups.
By the end of 2017, the permanent resident population in Guangdong province was 112.69 million, an increase of 1.7 million compared with the end of 2016. The permanent resident population in urban areas was 78.105 million, accounting for 69.85 percent of the resident population.
In 2017, the total amount of fresh water in Guangdong was 178.5 billion cubic meters, a decrease of 27.4 percent over 2016. There are 15 national-level nature reserves in the province, with a total area of 338,000 hectares. The province is home to eight national geological parks with an area of 73,889 hectares and six geological relics protection areas with an area of 39,946 hectares.
The air quality in Guangdong has maintained an excellent level in China. The quality rate air quality index (AQI) in the Pearl River Delta varies from 66.8 percent to 89.0 percent, with an average of 75.1. The share of the days with excellent air quality in other cities accounts for 50 percent annually, suitable for working and living.
Guangdong is the first province in China to conduct maritime trade and international migration. More than 30 million overseas Chinese from 160 countries and regions attribute their hometown to Guangdong. With the combination of overseas Chinese culture and local culture, the culture in Guangdong is unique and an important part of the Lingnan culture. The folk arts and customs also lay a rich foundation for Guangdong culture.
Guangdong's unique geographic and climate features are rich tourist resources. By the end of 2017, the province was home to 12 national 5A-level tourist attractions and 172 4A-level attractions. Well-known tourist sites, such as the Guangzhou Chimelong Holiday Resort and the Shenzhen OCT (overseas Chinese town) East Resort are now home to different kinds of international activities and events. In 2017, Guangdong province hosted 36.48 million cross-border overnight visitors, an increase of 3.7 percent year-on-year. Revenue brought by overseas visitors totaled $19.65 billion, an increase of 5.8 percent. Domestic overnight visits reached 407 million in 2017, an increase of 12.5 percent; contributing 1,066 billion yuan to Guangdong’s economy.
Guangdong is one of the frontiers of China's reform and opening-up policy. It is one of the most attractive places for investors with a great deal of market vigor. It is also the fastest economically developing province in China with the most advanced business and trade. In 2017,Guangdong's GDP reached 9.0 trillion yuan, an increase of 7.5 percent over 2016. The added value of primary industry was 379.24 billion yuan, an increase of 3.5 percent year on year; that of secondary industry was 3.86 trillion yuan, an increase of 6.7 percent; and of the tertiary industry was 4.75 trillion yuan, an increase of 8.6 percent. The total import and export volume of goods for 2017 in the province was 6.82 trillion yuan, an increase of 8.0 percent over the previous year. Exports were 4.22 trillion yuan, up 6.7 percent and imports were 2.60 trillion yuan, up 10.1 percent. In 2017, the trade value between Guangdong and countries involved in the Belt and Road Initiative was 1.5 trillion yuan, up 14.9 percent year on year.