Pearl River Delta (PRD) ( ) in southern People's
Republic of China is the low-lying area alongside the Pearl
River estuary where the Pearl
River flows into the South China Sea.
Pearl River Delta
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 Guangdong, combined with the financial and service economy
and traditional capitalistic influence in Hong Kong, will create an economic gateway attracting foreign
capital throughout mainland
Location and demographics
covers nine prefectures of the
province of Guangdong, namely Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Dongguan, Zhongshan, Foshan, Huizhou, Jiangmen and Zhaoqing, and the SAR of Hong Kong and Macau.
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
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
falling US Dollar
. Some manufacturers
will need to cut costs by moving up the value chain or moving to
lower cost destinations such as Vietnam.
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 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
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
The Pearl Delta has been the second most populous area in China,
, 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.
known to many English speakers as Canton, Guangzhou is the capital
of Guangdong province.
It is a
port on the Pearl
River, navigable to the South China Sea, and is located about 120 km (75 miles) northwest
of Hong Kong.
||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.
||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.
||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
||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.
||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.
||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.
||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 was first Portuguese
settlement in China on 1557.
remained a colony of Portugal 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, Japan, and
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
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
(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
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
On March 22, 2007 the World Bank
a $96 million loan to the PRC government to reduce water pollution
in the Pearl River Delta. See 
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
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 Guangzhou from 12/11/2010 to 27/11/2010.See 
- Economic data