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广东 省
Guǎngdōng Shěng
Abbreviation : ( Pinyin : Yuè)
Capital Guangzhou

 - Total
 - share in the

Rank 15 out of 33

179,800 km²


 - Total 2015
 - density

Rank 1 of 33

108,490,000 inhabitants
604 inhabitants / km²

Management type province
governor Ma Xingrui
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About this picture
ISO-3166-2 code CN-GD
District level 21 cities
District level 62 city districts, 34 districts, 20 cities, 3 autonomous districts
Community level 1128 large communities, 445 street districts, 7 nationality communities, 4 communities

Guangdong ( Chinese  廣東 省  /  广东 省 , Pinyin Guǎngdōng Shěng , Jyutping Gwong 2 dung 1 Saang 2 ) is a province in the south of the People's Republic of China . Guangdong is the most populous province in China with 108.49 million inhabitants (as of 2015). Its name means far east and comes from the time when Guangdong was just settled by the Chinese and was still a vast, uninhabited area. The term canton , derived from this name, is used in the west for the capital Guangzhou , less often for the province itself. Other important cities in Guangdong are Shantou , Shenzhen , Foshan , Dongguan , Zhanjiang and Zhuhai . The short name for Guangdong is "Yue" (  /  , Yuè , Jyutping Jyut 6 ).


Guangdong lies on the coast of the South China Sea and is bordered to the north by the Nanling Mountains . At the western end is the Leizhou Peninsula , at the southern tip of which is the island of Hainan . The neighboring provinces are Fujian , Guangxi , Hainan (belonged to Guangdong until 1988), Hunan , Jiangxi and the special administrative regions Hong Kong and Macau . The latter cities are also part of the historical cultural area of ​​Guangdong, but the more recent administrative division is a direct result of colonialism.

The southern territory of the province is divided in its center by the Pearl River . Although it is only 177 km long, it is one of the most important shipping routes in China; it arises among others by three major rivers: In Guǎngzhōu goes West River (2197 km long), in the at Sanshui the North River (468 km long) opens in the Perlfuss over; south of Guangzhou the east river (523 km long) flows into the estuary . The huge alluvial plain that the Pearl River has formed around its mouth is an important agricultural region and a focal point of the economic boom in the last 20 years.

About a quarter of the surface shape of Guangdong is flat, especially in the coastal regions. Another quarter is gently rolling hills. The remaining half consists of mountains and plateaus, especially in the north. The highest point in the province is the Shikengkong on the border with Hunan at 1902 meters.


Guangdong's climate is humid with tropical to subtropical temperatures. In the mountainous north there is an annual average temperature of 19 ° C, in the south of 23 ° C. The coldest month in Guangzhou is February with an average of 14 ° C, while the summer months have an average of 29 ° C. Precipitation is very unevenly distributed, in the north there are regions with less than 1200 mm of annual precipitation. The wettest regions, on the other hand, bring it to more than 2800 mm per year. Precipitation is also irregularly distributed over time. The winter months are relatively dry, but it hardly stops raining in spring ( plum rain , 梅雨 , méiyǔ , Jyutping mui 4 jyu 5 ). In summer there is a regular risk of typhoons ( 颱風  /  台风 , táifēng , Jyutping toi 4 fung 1 ), with August and September being another two months with high levels of precipitation.

Administrative structure

The province is divided into 21 prefecture-level cities :

Chaozhou (潮州 市), Dongguan (东莞 市), Foshan (佛山 市), Guangzhou (广州 市), Heyuan (河源 市), Huizhou (惠州 市), Jiangmen (江门 市), Jieyang (揭阳 市), Maoming (茂名 市), Meizhou (梅州 市), Qingyuan (清远 市), Shantou (汕头 市), Shanwei (汕尾 市), Shaoguan (韶关 市), Shenzhen (深圳 市), Yangjiang (阳江 市), Yunfu (云浮 市), Zhanjiang (湛江 市), Zhaoqing (肇庆 市), Zhongshan (中山 市), Zhuhai (珠海 市)

As at the end of 2015, these cities were subdivided into 62 city ​​districts , 34 districts , 20 cities and 3 nationality communities and 4 municipalities .

In the following table, cities of high administrative importance are marked in bold.

Guangdong Administrative Map Greater Region # region Chin. Hanyu pinyin administrative
China Guangdong adm.svg
- Immediate provincial administrative zone -
Pearl River Delta 9 Guangzhou 广州 市 Guǎngzhōu Shì Yuexiu 7,435 12,700,800
21st Shenzhen 深圳 市 Shēnzhèn Shì Futian 2.007 10,357,938
- District-free cities -
1 Qingyuan 清远 市 Qīngyuǎn Shì Qingcheng 19,264 3,698,394
2 Shaoguan 韶关 市 Sháoguān Shì Zhenjiang 18,398 2,826,612
3 Heyuan 河源 市 Héyuán Shì Yuancheng 15,644 2,953,019
4th Meizhou 梅州 市 Méizhōu Shì Meijiang 15,925 4,240,139
East Guangdong 5 Chaozhou 潮州 市 Cháozhōu Shì Xiangqiao 3,083 2,669,844
Pearl River Delta 6th Zhaoqing 肇庆 市 Zhàoqìng Shì Duanzhou 15.007 3,918,085
West Guangdong 7th Yunfu 云浮 市 Yúnfú Shì Yuncheng 7,762 2,360,128
Pearl River Delta 8th Foshan 佛山 市 Fóshān Shì Chancheng 3,875 7,194,311
10 Dongguan 东莞 市 Dōngguǎn Shì Nancheng 2,512 8.220.237
11 Huizhou 惠州 市 Hùizhōu Shì Huicheng 11,158 4,597,002
East Guangdong 12 Shanwei 汕尾 市 Shànwěi Shì Cheng 4,957 2,935,717
13 Jieyang 揭陽 市 Jiēyáng Shì Rongcheng 5,269 5,877,025
14th Shantou 汕頭 市 Shàntóu Shì Jinping 2.123 5,391,028
West Guangdong 15th Zhanjiang 湛江 市 Zhànjiāng Shì Chikan 11,693 6,993,304
16 Maoming 茂名 市 Màomíng Shì Maonan 11,345 5,817,753
17th Yangjiang 阳江 市 Yángjiāng Shì Jiangcheng 8.005 2,421,812
Pearl River Delta 18th Jiangmen 江門 市 Jiāngmén Shì Pengjiang 9,553 4,448,871
19th Zhongshan 中山 市 Zhōngshān Shì Dong 1,770 3,120,884
20th Zhuhai 珠海 市 Zhūhǎi Shì Xiangzhou 1,696 1,560,229
Note: Officially, the Dongsha Islands are part of the administrative area of ​​Shanwei City. However , the islands are de facto controlled by the Republic of China (Taiwan) .
  1. ^ National central city
  2. Central city for north Guangdong
  3. a b it is not an official administrative unit
  4. ^ Central city for east Guangdong
  5. ^ Central city for West Guangdong


Most of today's province, which initially belonged to the empire of the non-Chinese Nan-Yue , fell under Chinese rule for the first time during the Qin dynasty in the 3rd century BC.

After the fall of the Empire and the collapse of state power at the beginning of the 20th century, Guangdong was initially the stronghold of the Kuomintang and the center of their counter-government, but between 1929 and 1936 the warlord Chen Jitang ruled the area autonomously, while Wang Jingwei also formed a counter-government in Canton in 1931 before the national government was able to assert itself again in 1936. During the Second World War, the Japanese occupied the provincial capital and parts of the province, in 1945 the Kuomintang recaptured the province, but lost it to the communists in 1949.


Residential houses on the Pearl River in Guangzhou


At the end of 2015, Guangdong had a resident population of 108.49 million people, which translates into a population density of 604 people per square kilometer. The population is made up of 56.7294 million men and 51.7606 million women, so that for every 100 women there are on average 109.6 men.

Guangdong is one of the most densely populated provinces in China. The population is growing rapidly, between 1990 and 2000 there was an increase of 36.7% and from 2000 to 2010 a further increase of 38.3%. The one-child policy also applied in Guangdong until it was abolished on January 1, 2016.

In 2015, the population grew by 1.25 million people, or 1.17%, with population growth accelerating by 0.42 percentage points. In 2013, the average life expectancy was 76.5 years, which is above the Chinese average. The birth rate in 2015 was 11.12 per thousand people (or 1.1995 million newborns), the death rate was 4.32 per thousand or 466,000 people. The natural population growth is thus 0.68%; the additional growth is due to immigration from other provinces. Due to the strong population growth, Guangdong overtook Henan Province as the most populous province in the 2010 census .

The population is very unevenly distributed across the province. At the end of 2015, 58.7427 million people or 54.15% of the province's total population lived in the Pearl River Delta . 17.2731 million (15.92% of the total population) lived in the eastern half of the province, 15.8335 million (15.34%) in the western half and 16.6407 million (14.59%) in the northern highlands. The population of the Pearl River Delta grew by 1.92% compared to the previous year, while it grew by almost 0.5% in the mountainous region and in the western part and decreased by 0.08% in the eastern part. The two megacities of Guangzhou and Shenzhen combined 92.02% of the population growth in the Pearl River Delta.

The working-age population (ages 15-64) at the end of 2015 was 80.4405 million people, or 74.15% of the total population. The proportion of people under 15 years of age was 17.37% (18.8467 million people), the proportion of people over 64 years of age was 8.48% or 9.2028 million people. This results in a youth quotient of 23.43 (increase compared to 2014 by 3.29 points) and an old age quotient of 11.44 (increase compared to 2014 by 0.61 points) or a dependency quotient of 34.87.

Ethnically, the population consists of 98.6% Han . On the other hand, almost all of China's national minorities are represented in Guangdong, especially the Zhuang , Miao , Yao , She , Li , Yi and Gin have been at home in the region for a long time, sometimes longer than the Han. Other groups, such as Hui or Manchurians , only immigrated later.

Population development

The following table shows the population development of the province since 1954. In 1988 the island of Hainan was split off from Guangdong as a separate province.

year population
1954 census 34,770,059
1964 census 42,800,849
1982 census 59.299.220
1990 census 62.829.236
2000 census 85.225.007
2010 census 104.303.132
Guess 2016 109,990,000

Urbanization and cities

At the end of 2015, 74.5435 million people, or 68.71% of the population, lived in Guangdong's urban areas and 33.9465 million people (31.29%) lived in rural areas. Urbanization in the Pearl River Delta was 84.59% and thus 0.47 percentage points above the 2014 figure. In the east of the province it was 59.93% (increase of 0.38 percentage points), in the west it was 42.01% ( Increase of 0.98 percentage points) and in the mountainous region at 47.17% (increase of 0.8 percentage points). Overall, the urban population increased by 1.6203 million people or 2.22% in 2015.

Due to the relatively high level of urbanization, Guangdong already had 13 cities with a million inhabitants in 2010. The largest cities in the province with the actual urban settlement population as of the 2010 census are as follows:

rank city population rank city population
1 Guangzhou (Canton) 10,641,408 8th Jiangmen 1,480,023
2 Shenzhen 10,358,381 9 Zhuhai 1,369,538
3 Dongguan 7,271,322 10 Chaozhou 1,256,268
4th Foshan 6,771,895 11 Jieyang 1,226,848
5 Shantou 3,644,017 12 Zhanjiang 1,038,762
6th Zhongshan 2,740,994 13 Maoming 1,033,196
7th Huizhou 1,807,858 14th Qingyuan 916.453


Guangdong is the home of the Cantonese language ( 廣東話  /  广东话 , Guǎngdōnghuà , Jyutping Gwong 2 dung 1 waa 2 ) or “Yue” ( 粵語  /  粤语 , Yuèyǔ , Jyutping Jyut 6 jyu 5 ). In the east, on the border with Fujian , dialects that can be assigned to the Min are spoken, especially Teochew in the prefecture-level cities of Chaozhou and Shantou ; the dialect of the Leizhou peninsula is also part of the Min. There are also Hakka in Guangdong who have their own language . Most of the people in Meizhou speak Hakka. Cantonese is also divided into several subdialects.

Due to the massive immigration from other provinces, Mandarin Chinese has established itself alongside the Cantonese language and is understood by almost all residents of the province and spoken by all people who have a certain level of education.


Guangdong is the economically strongest province in the People's Republic. Since 1989, Guangdong has established its leading position in the national economy. Since 2001, their share in the GDP of the People's Republic has been more than eleven percent. Almost 70 percent of this added value goes into export. However, the province's role as an "extended workbench" led to numerous plant closings and relocation of companies in the ongoing process of structural change.

Calculated per capita, Guangdong is the fifth richest province in the People's Republic after Zhejiang , Jiangsu , Inner Mongolia and Fujian . The GDP per capita in 2015 was 72,787 yuan (about $ 10,958). The province experienced consistently high economic growth for around 25 years. The cities of Guangzhou and Shenzhen are among the most active economic centers, the GDP of each of the two cities is behind that of Shanghai, but still ahead of Beijing or Tianjin.


Until the 1970s, Guangdong was neither a particularly poor nor particularly rich province. However, the residents of the area have a long tradition in (foreign) trade and are considered particularly business-minded within China.

When the economy became more liberal after Mao's death, Guangdong was the first province to unofficially experiment with market mechanisms. In 1980 , four special economic zones were introduced in China , including three in Guangdong, Shenzhen , Zhuhai and Shantou . Other cities in Guangdong were also the first to officially introduce markets where prices were not dictated by the state. Until 1988 the island of Hainan belonged to Guangdong, but was then made an independent province and the fifth and largest special economic zone of the country by the central government against the fierce resistance of Guangdong.

While many of the reforms that were first tried in Guangdong have now been introduced across China, the province is the furthest advanced on the way towards a capitalist market economy , also outside the special economic zones. The boom in which the province has been since then could not be slowed down by the SARS crisis, the center of which was in Guangdong. However, strikes and protests have increased since summer 2015 as a result of plant closures, bankruptcies and outstanding wage payments.

In May 1982, more than 430 people died in a flood in the province. Tens of thousands were left homeless.


Agriculture accounts for 2.5% of GDP and 40% of employment, both very low values ​​for China. About half of the usable area is cultivated with rice , another quarter with vegetables, the rest is used for growing fruits, sugar cane and peanuts . Peanuts are the most important oil crops in southern China; Guangdong is the country's leading producer of bananas , citrus fruits and mangoes .

Livestock is also important, with a total of more than 20 million pigs and more than four million cattle. Contrary to other reports, the breeding of dogs, cats or rats for consumption has negligible economic importance. In fishing, 94% of all freshwater and around 50% of all saltwater catches come from farms.


Guangdong has some offshore oil fields that are very important to China's crude oil production . The most visible mining activity for the stranger is the mining of rock for the booming building materials industry; they are in the process of blasting and dismantling entire mountains in order to gain rock for construction work.


Factory near Guangzhou

Industry generates about half of the province's GDP and employs 26% of the workforce. Guangdong is the province with the highest number of industrial companies, and the share of private companies is also highest in Guangdong, in 2000 only 17% of companies were state-owned (33% national average). The light industry dominates , which represents more than half of the total production value. This illustrates the importance of Guangdong as the backyard of Hong Kong and, to a lesser extent, Macau and Taiwan . Almost all of Hong Kong's industry has moved to Guangdong since the 1980s.

The most important products are textiles, paper, building materials, food, electronics (especially smartphones) and household appliances. The vehicle industry also experienced a major surge in growth. With ten percent of the total production of all provinces in China, the energy suppliers bring the highest share of electricity to the market; this is usually done with thermal power plants.

Services and tourism

About 49.1% of GDP is earned from services. The most important industries are transportation, telecommunications and post, and increasingly financial services. Tourism also plays an important role; Guangdong has the highest number of tourists and the highest income, without having any special sights. This illustrates the role of day tourists from Hong Kong and the role of foreign business people, who mostly declare themselves as tourists for bureaucratic reasons.

Foreign trade

No other province imports and exports as much as Guangdong. The special economic zones in particular were originally set up with the aim of producing cheaply for export and thereby providing the entire economy with urgently needed foreign currency. In Guangdong, for example, production is carried out for the American and European markets, and the raw materials for this are often imported from the target markets. About 30% of the people's republic's exports come from Guangdong. The Guangzhou Import and Export Goods Fair is the largest in the country. It takes place in April and September every year.


In Guangdong, the road network is of paramount importance for transportation. No other province in China has as high a density of highways and first-class highways as Guangdong; Enormous sums of money continue to be invested in the road network. There are around 13,700 kilometers of navigable waterways.

The railway network, however, is very thin; however, the existing routes are used very heavily. The most important lines are the north-south connection ( Beijing - Guangzhou railway / Beijing - Canton railway, which continues to Shenzhen and Hong Kong ) and the west-east connection, here especially the Guangzhou- Shantou railway and the line from Guangzhou to Nanning . The line between Guangzhou and Shenzhen is one of the most modern railway lines in China.

The overseas ports of Guangzhou, Zhanjiang , Shantou and Shenzhen are among the most important in the country; Guangzhou in particular is the third largest port in China and the fast-growing port of Shenzhen is increasingly competing with the Hong Kong port.

The density of international airports in the Pearl River Delta is immense; With Guangzhou , Shenzhen, Hong Kong and Macau there are four airports within a radius of around 200 kilometers. Other notable airports are in Shantou , Meizhou and Zhanjiang .

Telecommunication coverage is almost nowhere in China as advanced as in Guangdong; IDD telephones can easily be found in remote areas and almost the entire territory of the province is covered by the cellular network.


Despite the high level of immigration from much poorer areas, especially from a rural population, the illiteracy rate is very low at less than four percent. Guangdong has a large number of universities. The Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou is ranked among the top ten universities in the country.

Web links

Commons : Guangdong  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files


  1. a b c d e f 罗健波 (Luo Jianbo): 人口 语言. In: 广东 年鉴.广东 年鉴 编纂 委员会, 2016, accessed February 19, 2018 (Chinese).
  2. a b c d 何 锋 军 (He Fengjun): 行政 区划. In: 广东 年鉴.广东 年鉴 编纂 委员会, 2016, accessed February 19, 2018 (Chinese).
  3. 印发 粤北 地区 经济 社会 发展 规划 纲要 (2011— 2015 年) 的 通知 (“Announcement on the Draft and Distribution of the Economic and Social Development Plan in North Guangdong Region 2011-2015”).广东 省政府 网 (Guangdong Provincial Government website),, accessed August 21, 2018 (Chinese (simplified)).
  4. 印发 粤东 地区 经济 社会 发展 规划 纲要 (2011— 2015 年) 的 通知 (“Notice of Draft and Distribution of the Plan for Economic and Social Development in East Guangdong Region 2011-2015”).广东 省政府 网 (Guangdong Provincial Government website),, accessed August 21, 2018 (Chinese (simplified)).
  5. 印发 粤西 地区 经济 社会 发展 规划 纲要 (2011— 2015 年) 的 通知 (“Announcement on the Draft and Distribution of the Economic and Social Development Plan for West Guangdong Region (2011-2015)”).广东 省政府 网 (Guangdong Provincial Government website),, accessed August 21, 2018 (Chinese (simplified)).
  6. 中国 统计 年鉴 -2013 (“Statistical Yearbook for China 2013”). Retrieved May 6, 2018 (Chinese (simplified)).
  7. Willy Lam: 2010 Census Exposes Fault Lines in China's Demographic Shifts . Ed .: Jamestown Foundation. China letter 11, no. 8 , May 6, 2011 (English, online [accessed July 18, 2019]).
  8. a b Guangdong (China): Province, Cities & Counties - Population Statistics, Maps, Graphics, Weather and Web Information. Retrieved December 11, 2017 .
  10. M. Müller: In China, nervousness is increasing. NZZ, international edition, December 9, 2015, p. 7.
  11. a b c d Guangdong Economic and Social Development 2009. Guangdong Statistical Office, archived from the original on August 10, 2011 ; Retrieved April 19, 2010 .

Coordinates: 23 ° 34 '  N , 113 ° 57'  E