Guangzhou is the capital and a political, economic, and cultural center of Guangdong Province. It is located in the southeast of Guangdong Province and in the north of the Pearl River Delta. Crossed by the Tropic of Cancer, it is located between longitude 112º57' to 114º3' east and latitude 22º26' to 23º56' north, bordering on the South China Sea, adjacent to Hong Kong and Macao. It is a regional central city in South China, and China's Southern Gateway to the world.
In April 2005, Guangzhou restructured its administrative division. Now there are ten districts under Guangzhou's jurisdiction, namely, Yuexiu, Haizhu, Liwan, Tianhe, Baiyun, Huangpu, Huadu, Panyu, Nansha and Luogang, and two county-level cities, Conghua and Zengcheng. Guangzhou City covers a total area of 7434.4 km2.
It had a registered population of 7.6072 million in 2006, up by 101,900 people compared with the end of 2005. There were approximately 3.91 million migrants by the end of 2006. The downtown population density is 1627 people per km2.
According to rough statistics, the permanent foreign residents in Guangzhou total over 50,000, which would increase with the coming years. The temporary foreign residence registrations reached nearly 900,000, involving over 180 countries and regions.
There are 160,000 people of 52 minority ethnic groups in Guangzhou. The Hui and Man ethnic groups have been living in Guangzhou generation after generation.
Guangzhou is a famous cultural city with a history of more than 2,200 years. As early as the Chou Period, in the 9th century BC, there were exchanges between the Baiyue people of Guangzhou and the people of the Chu State in the middle reaches of Yangtze River. The name "Chu Ting", which was the earliest name of Guangzhou, originated in the 33rd year of Emperor Qin Shihuang. Qin unified Lingnan, Nanhai prefecture (the Capital was built at "Panyu") and in the year of 226, in order to strengthen his rule, Sun Quan divided the original Jiaozhou into two parts- Jiaozhou and Guangzhou, name of Guangzhou was established. When the municipal council was set up in 1921, Guangzhou became the city it is today.
Three feudal dynasties, Nanyue, Nanhan and Nanming, chose Guangzhou as their capital. During the Qin and Han Dynasties, Guangzhou was a prosperous city. It was the earliest trade port in China and was the starting point of the "Silk Road of the Sea" beginning with the Han and Tang Dynasties.
The city is also a source of modern Chinese revolution. In this land many historic events took place including the Sanyuanli Struggle against British invaders, the Huanghuagang Uprising against feudalism and the Guangzhou Uprising which established the Guangzhou Commune. Mr. Sun Yat-sen, a revolutionary forerunner, set up the Huangpu Military Academy and constituted the political parties three times during his tenure as Chief of State. Comrade Mao Zedong ran the Institute of Peasant Movement training multiple cadres of key revolutionaries.
Guangzhou is the home of many celebrities, especially the great figures of China who have initiated changes the modern history of China, such as Kang Youwei and Liang Qichao, leaders of the Reform Movement of the late Qing Dynasty, Hong Xiuquan, leader of the modern Chinese peasant revolution, and Sun Yat-sen, revolutionary leader who overthrew the rule of the Qing dynasty.
It is the center of Chinese Lingnan Culture. Cantonese Opera is a typical local opera that enjoys the name of "Nanguo Ruby". With Guangzhou as its center, it is popular in Guangdong Province, Hong Kong, Macau and Southeast Asian countries. Guangdong music originated from Guangzhou and the Pearl River Delta. It has absorbed and combined with ancient music from the Central China, popular tune of Jiangnan, Kun Opera, local ballads and rhymes, so it has become a special local folk music. Lingnan painting school is one of China's modern painting schools. Guangzhou's carvings, porcelains and ceramics and embroideries are fine art crafts famous both at home and abroad. Cantonese cuisine with more than 1,000 varieties is one of the major cuisines in China. "Guangzhou is a gourmet paradise" is well known throughout the world.
It is rich in popular practices such as holding Spring Flower Festival, flower fairs, dragon boat race, climbing mountain in the Double Ninth Festival, visiting flower market, displaying tangerine, drinking morning tea and night tea, etc.
There are five religious beliefs in this city such as Buddhism, Taoism. Islam, Catholicism and Christianity. The main sites for religious activities are Liurong Temple, Sanyun Taoist Temple, Huaisheng Taoist Temple, Stone Catholic Church and Dongshan Christian Church, etc.
Guangzhou is the main manufacturing hub of the Pearl River Delta, one of mainland China's leading commercial and manufacturing regions. The city has a 2,000 year history of open trade. Following the implementation of the reform and opening-up policy, the economic development of Guangzhou became vigorous and has scored remarkable achievements.
Since 1992, Guangzhou's overall economic strength has risen to the third position among the country's 10 largest cities. Guangzhou has become a city with relatively strong secondary industry and developed tertiary industry. The city has experienced a concerted economic development and, in the past 20 years, Guangzhou's average annual economic growth rate has been more than 14% per annum.
The China Import and Export Fair, also called "Canton Fair", is held every year in April and October by Ministry of Trading. Inaugurated in the spring of 1957, the Fair is a major event for the city. From the 104th session, Liuhua Complex is not in use to hold Canton Fair. All the booths have been transferred to Pazhou Complex. From the 104th session, Canton Fair has been arranged in 3 phases instead of 2 phases.
In January 2009 the National People's Congress approved a development plan for the Pearl River Delta Region. On March 19, 2009 the Guangzhou Municipal Government and Foshan Municipal Government both agreed to establish a framework to merge the two cities.