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Pearl River Delta
The Pearl River Delta (PRD) ( ) in southern People's Republic of Chinamarker is the low-lying area alongside the Pearl Rivermarker estuary where the Pearl River flows into the South China Seamarker. Since economic liberalisation was adopted by the Chinese government in the late 1970s, the delta has become one of the leading economic regions and a major manufacturing center of China. The Chinese government hopes that the manufacturing in Guangdongmarker, combined with the financial and service economy and traditional capitalistic influence in Hong Kongmarker, will create an economic gateway attracting foreign capital throughout mainland China.

Location and demographics

The PRD covers nine prefectures of the province of Guangdong, namely Guangzhoumarker, Shenzhenmarker, Zhuhaimarker, Dongguanmarker, Zhongshanmarker, Foshanmarker, Huizhou, Jiangmenmarker and Zhaoqingmarker, and the SAR of Hong Kongmarker and Macaumarker. It had a population approximately of 60 million people in 2008.

The eastern side of the PRD (Shenzhen, Dongguan), dominated by foreign capitals, is the most developed economically and polluted. The western areas (Foshan, Zhuhai, Zhongshan, Jiangmen), dominated by local private capitals, are open for development. New transport links between Hong Kong, Macau and Zhuhai in the PRD are expected to open up new areas for development and facilitate trade within the region. The proposed 29-kilometre Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge will be among the longest in the world.
Until approximately around 1985, the PRD had been mainly dominated by farms and small rural villages, but after the economy was reformed and opened, a flood of investment turned it into the mainland's economic powerhouse and one of the most polluted areas in China. The PRD's startling growth was fuelled by foreign investment coming largely from Hong Kong manufacturers that moved their operations into the PRD. In 2003, Hong Kong companies employed 11 million workers in their PRD operations. Most of the workers are farmers from outside Guangdong and get only minimum wages.

Emergence of the economy

According to the 2000 national Census, the Zone had a population of 40.8 million people. Per capita income has been growing substantially in recent years, as have consumer expenditures.

Although the Pearl River Delta Economic Zone encompasses only 0.4 percent of the land area and only 3.2 percent of the 2000 Census population of mainland China, it accounted for 8.7 percent of GDP, 35.8 percent of total trade, and 29.2 percent of utilised foreign capital in 2001. These figures show the remarkable level of economic development that the Pearl River Delta Economic Zone has achieved and the international orientation of the region’s economy. This orientation has attracted numerous investors from all over the world who use the Greater Pearl River Delta region as a platform for serving global and Chinese markets.

As of 2008, the Central Government has introduced new labor laws, environmental and new regulations to reduce pollution, industrial disputes, safer working conditions and protect the environment. The costs of producing low margin and commodity goods have increased. This is on top of the rising cost for energy, food, transport and the appreciation of the Reminbi against the falling US Dollar. Some manufacturers will need to cut costs by moving up the value chain or moving to lower cost destinations such as Vietnammarker.

Significance of manufacturing

Several streets in Guangzhou specialize in selling electronic components to the manufacturers of electric and electronic goods
The Pearl River Delta has become the world's workshop and is a major manufacturing base for products such as electronic products (such as watches and clocks), toys, garments and textiles, plastic products, and a range of other goods. Much of this output is invested by foreign entities and is geared for the export market. The Pearl River Delta Economic Zone accounts for approximately one third of China's trade value.

Private-owned enterprises have developed quickly in the Pearl River Delta Economic Zone and are playing an ever-growing role in the region's economy, particularly after year 2000 when the development environment for private-owned enterprises has been greatly relaxed.

Nearly five percent of the world's goods were produced in the Greater Pearl River Delta in 2001, with a total export value of US$ 289 billion. Over 70,000 Hong Kong companies have plants there .

Metropolitan area

The Pearl Delta has been the second most populous area in China, East Asia, and one of the most densely populated areas of the world. Similar to the Yangtze River Delta Which has highly developed cities surrounding the delta.

Chinese Hanyu Pinyin Jyutping City Population Image Information
Guǎngzhōu Gwong2 zau1 Guangzhoumarker 10,045,800 Also known to many English speakers as Canton, Guangzhou is the capital of Guangdongmarker province. It is a port on the Pearl Rivermarker, navigable to the South China Seamarker, and is located about 120 km (75 miles) northwest of Hong Kong.
深圳 Shēnzhèn Sam1 zan3 Shenzhenmarker 8,464,300 Shenzhen once was a small fishing village, singled out by Deng Xiaoping and became the first of the Special Economic Zones (SEZ) in China since the late 1970s has been one of the fastest growing cities in the world due to its proximity to Hong Kong, once a British colony until 1997. It is also the busiest port in China after Shanghai.
香港 Xiānggǎng Hoeng1 gong2 Hong Kongmarker 7,000,000 Hong Kong Island was first occupied by British forces in 1841, and then formally ceded from China under the Treaty of Nanjing at the end of the war. Hong Kong remained a crown colony of the United Kingdom until 1997 when it was returned to China. Hong Kong is known as one of the world's leading financial capitals also a major business and cultural hub.
Dōngguǎn Dung1 gun2 Dongguanmarker 6,864,000 Dongguan borders the provincial capital of Guangzhou to the north, Huizhou to the northeast, Shenzhen to the south, and the Pearl River to the west. It is also home to the world's largest shopping mall, South China Mallmarker.
佛山 Fóshān Fat1 saan1 Foshanmarker 6,740,000 Foshan is an old town dated back to many centuries. It was famous for its porcelain industry. Now it has been made the fourth largest city in Guangdong'. The city is relatively affluent when compared to other Chinese cities, and it is home to many large private enterprises. Foshan recently has seen a transformation brought by China's booming economy. City administration is considered especially progressive in seeking foreign direct investment especially in Nanhai District which has closes ties with Guangzhou to form a Guangzhou-Foshan metro in the near future.
Jiāngmén Gong1 mun4 Jiangmenmarker 4,126,400 Jiangmen Port is the second largest river port in Guangdong province. The local government plans to develop a harbour industrial zone with heavy industries such as petrochemical and machinery industries. The port of Jiangmen was known as Kong-Moon when it was forced to open to western trade in 1902. One legacy of this period is a historic waterfront district lined with buildings in the treaty port style. The city has an ongoing renewal project which has restored many of these buildings.
中山 Zhōngshān Jung1 saan1 Zhongshanmarker 1,422,600 Zhongshan a mid-size city named after Dr. Sun Zhongshan, who is also known as Sun Yat-sen and considered by many to be the "Father of modern China". Zhongshan is serve as a midway point between Guangzhou and Macau. Zhongshan is known for making lamps in China.
珠海 Zhūhǎi Jyu1 hoi2 Zhuhaimarker 1,408,000 Zhuhai plays a similar role like Shenzhen and became the first of the Special Economic Zones (SEZ) in China since the late 1970s has been one of the fast growing cities in the Pearl River Delta due to its proximity to Macau.
Àomén Ou3 mun4 Macaumarker 520,400 Macau was first Portuguese settlement in China on 1557. Macau remained a colony of Portugalmarker until 1999 when it was returned to China. Macau has developed into a notable tourist industry that boasts a wide range of hotels, resorts, stadiums, restaurants and casinos. This makes it one of the richest cities in the world.

Ties with Hong Kong

Prefectures in the Pearl River Delta have benefited from proximity to Hong Kong. Hong Kong has been the source of over 70 percent of the cumulative foreign direct investment in the region since 1978, or roughly eight times the investment of North America, Japanmarker, and Europe combined. One reason Hong Kong has played such an important role is because it links the region with the rest of the world, handling 70 to 80 percent of its seaborne exports and an even greater percentage of its airborne exports.

Hong Kong serves a distinct role as a place for firms to access the strength of the Greater Pearl River Delta region. Many western firms also use Hong Kong as a base for their Greater Pearl River Delta region activities, with senior managers often residing in Hong Kong. Hong Kong also serves as a principal location for the buying offices for companies doing business with the Greater Pearl River Delta region. Increasingly, savvy companies are developing Hong Kong/Greater Pearl River Delta strategies with their management, finance, communication, and coordination activities based in Hong Kong and their manufacturing activities in one or more of the jurisdictions of the Pearl River Delta.

While occupying an important position in the nation's economy, the PRD has also been a pioneer in reform and openness. Two of the original four Special Economic Zones (Shenzhen and Zhuhai) are located in the PRD, which allowed it to lead the way from a planned economy to a market economy. Having this "first mover advantage" in developing private enterprise, manufacturing capabilities and foreign trade, the PRD has drawn on its proximity with Hong Kong to become the manufacturing powerhouse of China. While the PRD offers a competitive market for companies to source or manufacture goods, Hong Kong provides logistic, financial, legal, design and marketing services that allow companies to export their products to rest of the world.


The Pearl River Delta is notoriously polluted, with sewage and industrial waste treatment facilities failing to keep pace with the growth in population and industry in the area. A large portion of the pollution is brought about by factories run by Hong Kong manufacturers in the area. Much of the area is frequently covered with a brown smog. This has a strong effect on the pollution levels in the delta.

Pollution is perhaps one of the greatest risks to the Chinese White Dolphins that inhabit the area.

On March 22, 2007 the World Bank approved a $96 million loan to the PRC government to reduce water pollution in the Pearl River Delta. See [40942]And on 23/12/2008 it was announced that ¥48.6 billion (about $7.1 billion) will be spent on the river by mid 2010 to clean up the river's sewage problems quoted by Zhang Hu, the director of Guangzhou municipal bureau of water affairs.The city will build about 30 water treatment plants, which will treat 2.25 million tonnes of water per day. The program hopes to cut down the amount of sewage in the area by 85%, and is also of fundamental importance for the 2010 Asian Games to be held in Guangzhoumarker from 12/11/2010 to 27/11/2010.See [40943]

See also



Economic data

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