About Us Guangdong

Province at a glance


179,800 square km



Party Secretary

Mr. Hu Chunhua


Mr. Zhu Xiaodan


105.1 million

Macro Economic Data






GDP (in RMB billion)





Total Trade (in USD billion)





Exports (in USD billion)





Imports(in USD billion)





Total Trade with India(in USD billion)





Exports to India(in USD billion)





Imports from India(in USD billion)





Utilized Foreign investment(in USD billion)





Guangdong (广东) is a province on the South China Sea coast of the People’s Republic of China. Guangdong surpassed Henan and Sichuan to become the most populous province in China in January 2005, registering 79.1 million permanent residents and 31 million migrants who lived in the province for at least six months of the year. The provincial capital Guangzhou and economic hub Shenzhen are among the most populous and important cities in China. Since 1989 Guangdong has topped the total GDP rankings among all provincial-level divisions, with Jiangsu and Shandong second and third in rank. Guangdong has the fourth highest GDP per capita among all provinces of mainland China, after Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Liaoning. The province contributes approximately 12% of the China’s national economic output, and is home to the production facilities and offices of a wide-ranging set of multinational and Chinese corporations. Guangdong also hosts the largest Import and Export Fair in China called the Canton Fair in Guangzhou city. Guangdong is also home to three out of four of China’s original special economic zones - Shenzhen, Zhuhai, and Shantou.


Guangdong province’s nine key industries are:

1. Textiles and Garments

2. Food and Beverages

3. Construction Materials

4. Electronics and Information Technology

5. Electric Appliances and Machinery

6. Petrochemicals

7. Forestry and Papermaking

8. Pharmaceuticals

9. Automobiles

Furthermore, the provincial government is taking steps to advance the financial industry, setting the goal for it to be the province’s “key industry” by 2015. In 2012, the financial department of Guangdong Province released the “Overall Plan of Guangdong Province in Establishing the Integrated Experimental Area of Financial Reform and Innovation.” The Plan suggests that the added value of the financial industry will account for more than 8 percent of provincial GDP by 2015, and is further estimated to reach more than 10 percent by 2020.

Other enterprises produce shoes and furniture. Electronic communications, transportation equipment manufacturing and electrical machinery manufacturing are also increasingly considered driving forces for the province’s industrial growth. Provincial and municipal governments speak of Guangzhou’s future as a regional financial and logistics hub, an international business destination, and a regional shopping center. As such, the government is encouraging the development of the wholesale, retail, logistics, finance, convention and exhibitions and business services sectors.

Spotlight on Guangzhou’s Changing Identity Traditionally considered only a manufacturing base, Guangzhou is increasingly recognized for its growing domestic consumption. During the first ten months of 2012, the retail sales revenue of the region achieved RMB 486.2 billion, up 14.9 percent. This growth in retail sales is largely due to Guangzhou’s large population and high wages, as well as its efficient infrastructure.


• Guangzhou is a city of 12.7 million people and the nation’s third-largest metropolitan economy.

• In 2011, the regional GDP totaled RMB 1.238 trillion, up 11 percent, ranking third in the country, following Shanghai and Beijing.

• Guangzhou also has the highest average annual salary in the country, according to the 2011 Average Salary List released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

Guangzhou is also working to boost its service industry through cooperation with Hong Kong and Macao in a pilot zone in the city’s southern Nansha District, approved in September 2012. With a planned area of 803 square kilometers located 38 nautical miles from Hong Kong and 41 nautical miles from Macao, Nansha New District aims to enable Guangzhou to gradually move from processing trade to service areas, especially producer services and high-end services.

Guangdong is home to 97,084 foreign-invested enterprises as of 2011 - nearly a quarter of China’s foreign-invested enterprises. These account for more than half of Guangdong’s exports and total industrial output. The top ten countries/regions in terms of actual investment to Guangdong are: Hong Kong, British Virgin Islands, Japan, Korea, Samoa, France, the US, Macau, Singapore, and the UK. Companies from Hong Kong and Macau invested $11.9 billion in Guangdong province between January and September, which accounted for 63.7 percent of all foreign direct investment (FDI) in the Chinese province in that period, according to the provincial statistics department. Foreign investment is currently concentrated in manufacturing industries, including computers and computer accessories, biological products, mechanical and electrical products, refined chemicals, hardware and traditional industries. One notable example of a foreign-invested company is Maersk, whose largest global office is in Guangdong, while others like Suzuki and Intel have moved parts of sensitive departments such as R&D to the province.

Trade in Guangdong province from January to August 2012 grew year-on-year, according to Guangdong Customs. Specifically:

• Total export and import value rose 5.8 percent to $626.1billion, accounting for 25.1 percent of the country’s total exports and imports;

• Exports rose 5.8 percent to $365.03billion, accounting for 27.9 percent of the country’s total exports;

• Imports grew 4.7 percent to $261.07 billion, accounting for 22 percent of the country’s total imports; and

• Trade surplus for the province grew to $103.96 billion.

The total export and import value with newly emerging markets including Latin America, the Middle East and Africa saw great increases in recent years.

The Outline of Guangdong’s 12th Five Year Plan, applicable from 2011 to 2015, includes the following goals:

Optimize the industry structure of the province such that the service industry occupies 48 percent of all industries by 2015.

In addition, the Plan aims to increase the ratio of the value added by modern service industries to 60 percent of value added for the entire service industry. The key modern service industries to be promoted are finance and insurance, modern logistics, information service, science and technology service, business exhibition and headquarters economy, among others. In addition, newly emerging service industries such as creative industries, service outsourcing, human resources services and high technology services will be actively promoted.

Significantly improve innovative capacity, and become an important innovation center in the Asia-Pacific region by 2015.

In this regard, the Plan aims to introduce a great number of high-level technological innovative talents from abroad. Transform the PRD into a domestic as well as international consumer service center with a great number of trend-setting products and with strengthened supervision of both quality and prices of the products in order to better protect consumers’ interests.

Promote integration of PRD’s economy and improve its competitiveness.

This includes integrating the transportation systems, infrastructures, urban and rural planning, industry layout, environmental protection and public services of the region.

Strengthen environmental protection by strengthening water pollution control, improving air quality and improving the standard of safe disposal and treatment of solid wastes.

Promote low-carbon development in the province and improve the system and mechanism for controlling emission of greenhouse gases.

Optimize high-efficiency information network system.

The Plan aims to achieve the standards of a mid-level developed country in terms of the information levels of the entire province by 2015. This includes reaching an internet penetration rate of 70 percent by 2015.

Adjust income inequality by expanding the ratio of people with mid-level incomes and raising the minimum wages in the various cities in the PRD to above 40 percent of the local average salaries by 2015.

Improve the social insurance system and medical service standards in the province.

Improve internationalization of education by introducing several internationally well-known schools to Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Dongguan, Foshan and other cities to jointly establish higher education institutions.

Deepen cooperation with Hong Kong and Macau under the CEPA

In the finance area, this involves building finance cooperation region with Hong Kong leading with its financial system and PRD cities providing support with their finance resources and services. To enhance cooperation between Hong Kong and Mainland China in the services sector, and to facilitate mutual economic development, the Chinese central government and the government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region signed the Ninth Supplement to the Mainland and Hong Kong Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA) on June 29, which is scheduled to take effect on January 1, 2013.

Internationalize the province’s economy and optimize the structure of FDI utilization.

Foreign investment is encouraged in high-end manufacturing industries, high- and new-technology industries, modern service industries, new energy and energy-saving and environmental protection industries.

The key focus will be on attracting investment from Global Fortune 500 companies and leading enterprises in various industries, and strengthening cooperation with developed countries such as the U.S., Japan and European countries in the areas of economy, trading, technology and culture. Foreign investors are also encouraged to establish venture capital enterprises, private equity investment funds and invest in enterprises within the province.

Establish proper commercial dispute resolution mechanisms and improve legal systems to create a fair and orderly market competition environment conducive to the internationalization of the economy.

In Guangdong’s Five Year Plan, Guangzhou and Shenzhen are repeatedly mentioned as the pioneering cities to implement many of the goals in the Plan. For example, the Plan supports the development of these two centers into “national innovative cities.” Shenzhen is the first pilot city of innovation in China approved by National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) in 2008, while Guangzhou was approved in 2009. The Shenzhen government issued the Overall Plan for Shenzhen as a National Innovative City (2008-2015) in 2008, while Guangzhou’s Overall Development Plan for Guangzhou as a National Innovative City (2011-2015) was promulgated in 2011.

Among various goals, Shenzhen’s Innovation Plan aims to establish a group of state, provincial and city level laboratories, R&D centers and enterprise technology centers in the fields of electronic information, biotechnology, new materials, new energy, digitalized equipment, medical equipment and energy saving and environmental protection industries. In addition, internet-based newly emerging service industries, such as spatial information services, modern logistics, digital content, software outsourcing, e-commerce, and value-added service animated games are also actively promoted, as well as the general merging of high- and new-technologies with traditional industries.

Under the plan, innovative talents in the areas of R&D, operation management, creative design, and intellectual property rights will be recruited from abroad. Meanwhile, local talents will be sent abroad annually for training. The Plan also promises a steady increase in investment into technology by the government and funding support for enterprises and R&D institutions in Shenzhen carrying out key state-level plans and projects.

Spotlight on Shenzhen Government Innovation

Shenzhen government has taken the lead on a number of new initiatives, including equity investment incentives, e-commerce promotion and the introduction of electric vehicles.

Equity Investment Incentives

As private equity (PE) investment has emerged as one of the most important capital-raising avenues for small and medium-sized enterprises, Shenzhen has been one of several local governments of coastal cities to offer further incentives to equity investment enterprises. Shenzhen has established a PE Development Fund (PEDF) and recently clarified the operation procedures for PE funds that intend to apply for the financial support extracted from the PEDF. Incentives offered to PE funds include: reward for local financial contributions, office purchase subsidy, office rent subsidy, one-time settlement rewards, and one-time rewards for investment withdrawal.

E-Commerce Promotion

Shenzhen was approved by China’s NDRC and the Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) to be the first e-commerce model city in September 2009. In addition to changes in the registration of e-commerce companies, Shenzhen has made other efforts to promote its e-commerce development. One example is the building of e-commerce industrial parks, such as Futian International E-commerce Industrial Park, which opened in 2009 and currently has more than 150 internet and e-commerce companies. Currently, approval has not been given to foreign-invested companies in the e-commerce sector.

Introduction of Electric Vehicles

Shenzhen has begun integrating electric vehicles into its public transport, as seen in the recent commercial introduction of local auto-maker BYD’s vehicles which are appearing on the city streets. An initial fleet of some 300 e-taxis are plying the roads, as of December 2011. Named the E6, the vehicle offers enough space for five passengers and has a range of some 160 kilometers. Plans are currently being put into place to convert all of Shenzhen’s public vehicular transport to electric, including buses and all taxis, over the next five years.

BYD has also entered into agreements with Daimler to further continue R&D in the electric vehicle part of the business, with a factory in Los Angeles set to open in 2012 to manufacture and sell to the U.S. market the very same model currently plying the streets of Shenzhen - the E6.

One state-level project being developed in Shenzhen is the Qianhai Shenzhen-Hong Kong Modern Services Cooperation Zone, which the State Council approved in June 2012. A Hong Kong-Shenzhen joint venture supported by the State Council, Qianhai Zone is designed as an experimental business zone for better interaction between Mainland China and Hong Kong in the financial, logistics, and IT services sectors. It covers less than 20 square kilometers on the western side of Shenzhen, and is expected to achieve a GDP of RMB 150 billion by 2020.

Among its many goals, Qianhai Area’s financial zone will serve as an experimental opening-up for China’s financial sector as a whole, including preferential policies such as:

• Allowing the Qianhai area to explore the expansion of offshore RMB fund flow-back channels, and establish an innovative experimental zone for cross-border RMB business;

• Supporting the granting of RMB loans for offshore projects by banking institutions established in Qianhai;

• Under the CEPA framework, conducting studies on the granting of RMB loans by Hong Kong-based banking institutions for enterprises and projects established in Qianhai;

• Supporting qualified enterprises and financial institutions registered in Qianhai to issue RMB bonds in Hong Kong within the quotas approved by the State Council to support the development of Qianhai;

• Supporting the innovative development of foreign invested equity investment funds, and actively exploring new modes of foreign exchange settlement of capital funds, investment and fund management

• Supporting the establishment of international or national management headquarters or business operation headquarters by Hong Kong and other onshore and offshore financial institutions.

Furthermore, qualifying enterprises will be entitled to a reduced corporate income tax rate of 15 percent, and to increase investor confidence in the area, the government has stated plans to explore the establishment of branches of Hong Kong arbitration institutions in Qianhai.

Qianhai Zone has also been called “an area for spearheading industrial restructuring in the Pearl River Delta region,” and the incentives provided in the zone will likely extend to the other areas in Guangdong Province under remodeling to extract the ‘next wave’ of FDI, such as Hengqing Island near Zhuhai and Nansha Port near Guangzhou, in the near future before some are implemented in zones across the nation.

Guangzhou’s Innovation Plan echoes Shenzhen’s in many ways. It hopes to cultivate a group of high- and new-technology enterprises and to increase the ratio of the output value of high- and new-technology products in the total industrial output value. It aims to promote information technology, biology and health, new materials, energy saving and environmental protection, new energy automobiles and new energy industries. It also encourages the development of modern service industries, including researching and developing systems related to e-commerce, online banking, and online trading for use in the finance and insurance industries. In addition, it encourages finance institutions to commence adherence to intellectual property rights and offer loans to businesses and insurance companies to provide for high- and new-technology enterprises. The Plan also aims to resolve food safety and public safety issues.

Spotlight on Value-added Tax Reform

Guangdong Province launched its value-added tax reform pilot program in November 2012, following the pilot program launch in Shanghai and Beijing. Two lower rates of 11 percent and 6 percent are added on to the current standard rates of 17 percent and 13 percent under the existing value added tax regime. The tax rate of 17 percent shall apply to the leasing of tangible movable properties while the tax rate of 11 percent shall apply to the transportation industry.

Pilot industries include:

• Land transportation service

• Water transportation service

• Air transportation service

• Pipeline transportation service

• R&D and technology service

• Information technology service

• Cultural and creative service

• Logistics auxiliary service

• Authentication and consulting service

The tax rate of 6 percent shall apply to some of the other modern service industries and the tax rate of 3 percent shall apply to small-scale taxpayers providing taxable services. Taxable services subjected to a zero percent tax rate shall be carried out as prescribed by the Ministry of Finance and the State Administration of Taxation.

Pilot taxpayers engaged in specified taxable services shall, as required by the relevant state tax authorities, go through the formalities for tax registration, tax type identification, invoice type verification, general taxpayer recognition, tax-control system application, invoice purchase and collection, tax preference application, and tax-exemption registration for export refund before October 31, 2012.



The first city in China to open up to international airlines, Guangzhou is now the largest civil aviation center in southern China. Guangzhou’s Baiyun airport is the biggest in South China and ranks 2nd nationally in terms of passenger throughput and 3rd in terms of cargo and mail throughput. Under expansion scheduled to be completed 2013-2015, Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport is expected to be able to handle 75 million passengers and more than 2.17 million tonnes of cargo annually by 2015. Meanwhile, Shenzhen’s Baoan airport is the second largest in the region, ranking 5th nationally for passenger throughput and 4th for cargo and mail throughput. Other smaller airports in the province include Zhuhai Sanzao, Shantou Waisha, Zhanjiang, Foshan Shadi and Meixian Changgangji.

Ports and waterways

Guangdong’s three major ports are Shenzhen, Guangzhou and Zhanjiang. Shenzhen dominates in terms of container throughput (with 2,257 TEUs in 2011 vs. Guangzhou’s 1,425 TEUs), and both ports rank high nationally (2nd and 4th, respectively). Guangzhou has nearly twice the annual goods throughput of Shenzhen (431 million tons vs. 223 million tons) and ranks fourth nationally, while Shenzhen comes in at 11th, just barely ahead of Zhanjiang Port- considered China’s “first modern port” and the headquarters of the South Sea Fleet of the People’s Liberation Army Navy.


The Guangzhou railway station is the largest and busiest in southern China. The Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link that connects Shenzhen, Hong Kong and Guangzhou will be completed in 2016. In December 2011, the route between Guangzhou South Station and Shenzhen North Station started operation and the trip between only takes 35 minutes. It is anticipated that after the completion of the whole project, the trip between Guangzhou and Hong Kong will be shortened to 51 minutes. In addition, the new 2,200 km railway from Beijing to Guangzhou cuts the train ride between the two cities from 22 hours to eight hours.


1.The 2013 Special Report On The State Of Business In South China by the American Chamber of Commerce in South China, http://www.amcham-southchina.org/amcham/static/publications/specialreport.jsp

2.Website of the People’s Government of Guangdong Province, http://www.gd.gov.cn



Provinces Under Consulate