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.
Guangdong has abundant resources of light, heat and water and various flora and fauna. There are 22 kinds of animals under first-grade national protection and 95 kinds under the second grade. The province attaches great importance to the protection of natural resources and environment. At present, Guangdong is home to 270 forest natural reserves and 459 forest parks.
The province boasts a long costal line and a vast area of water. The actual sea farming area reaches to 20.82 hectares, making Guangdong a strong province for aquatic products. Guangdong is also rich in port resources and has become an important international transport and trade hub in China.
Besides, the province is home to a variety of mineral resources. By the end of 2013, there were 148 different kinds of mineral products, 101 of which had been quantifies exactly.
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.
The unique geographic and climate features cultivate rich tourist resources in Guangdong. At present, the province is home to nine national 5A-level tourist attractions and 61 4A-level attractions. Well-known tourist sites, such as the Guangzhou Chimlong Holiday Resort and the Shenzhen OCT (overseas Chinese town) East Resort have become designated places for different kinds of international activities and events.
Guangdong is one of the frontiers undergoing China's reform and opening-up policy. It has become one of the most attractive places for investors with most market vigor. It is also one of the provinces in China with the fastest economic development and most developed business and trade. During the 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-15), the annual growth of the province's GDP reached 8.5 percent and the regional gross production grew by 7.5 percent per capita. In 2015, the economic aggregate of Guangdong netted 7.28 trillion yuan ($1.10 trillion), the first province to hit such a high figure in China. During the five-year period, the province made a more than 10 percent contribution to the national economic development.