Guangdong_Province Latitude and Longitude:

23°24′N 113°30′E / 23.4°N 113.5°E / 23.4; 113.5
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Canton, Kwangtung
Chinese transcription(s)
 •  Simplified Chinese广东省
 •  Hanyu pinyinGuǎngdōng shěng
 •  Cantonese Jyutpinggwong2 dung1 saang2
 • AbbreviationGD / (Yuè / jyut6)
From top to bottom, left to right: Canton Tower in Guangzhou, Shenzhen Bay, Hong Kong–Zhuhai–Macau Bridge, Huangmanzhai Waterfall, Taishan Xiachuan Island
Map showing the location of Guangdong Province
Map showing the location of Guangdong Province
Coordinates: 23°24′N 113°30′E / 23.4°N 113.5°E / 23.4; 113.5
Country China
Named forAbbreviated from "Guǎngnándōng Lù" (A "" (often translated " Circuit") was equal to a province or a state in
  • Capital
  • (and largest city)
 • Type Province
 • Body Guangdong Provincial People's Congress [ zh]
 •  CCP Secretary Huang Kunming
 • Congress Chairman Huang Chuping
 •  Governor Wang Weizhong
 • Provincial CPPCC Chairman Lin Keqing
 •  National People's Congress Representation169 deputies
 • Total179,800 km2 (69,400 sq mi)
 • Rank 15th
Highest elevation1,902 m (6,240 ft)
 (2020) [2]
 • Total126,012,510
 • Rank 1st
 • Density700/km2 (1,800/sq mi)
  • Rank 7th
Demonym(s) Cantonese, Guangdongese [3]
GDP (2023) [4]
 • Total CN¥ 13.57 trillion ( 1st)
US$ 1.93 trillion
 • Per capitaCN¥ 106,986 ( 7th)
US$ 15,182
ISO 3166 codeCN-GD
HDI (2021)0.799 [5] ( 6th) – high
Website Edit this at Wikidata (in Chinese)
"Guangdong" in Simplified (top) and Traditional (bottom) Chinese characters
Simplified Chinese广东
Traditional Chinese廣東
Literal meaning"Eastern Expanse"
Simplified Chinese
Traditional Chinese
Literal meaning[an ancient name for southern China's Baiyue

Guangdong, [a] previously romanized as Kwangtung or Canton, is a coastal province located in South China, on the north shore of the South China Sea. [7] The provincial capital is Guangzhou. With a population of 126.84 million (as of 2021) [8] across a total area of about 179,800 km2 (69,400 sq mi), [1] Guangdong is the most populous province of China and the 15th-largest by area as well as the third-most populous country subdivision in the world.

Guangdong's economy is currently the largest of any provincial-level division in China, with a GDP of 13.57 trillion RMB ($1.9 trillion in GDP nominal) in 2023, contributing approximately 10.6% of the total economic output of mainland China. It has a diversified economy, and was known as the starting point of the Maritime Silk Road of ancient China. [9] It is home to the production facilities and offices of a wide-ranging set of Chinese and foreign corporations. Guangdong has benefited from its proximity to the financial hub of Hong Kong, which it borders to the south. Guangdong also hosts the largest import and export fair in China, the Canton Fair, hosted in the provincial capital of Guangzhou. The Pearl River Delta Economic Zone, a Chinese megalopolis, is a core for high technology, manufacturing and foreign trade. Located in this zone are two of the four top Chinese cities and the top two Chinese prefecture-level cities by GDP; Guangzhou, and Shenzhen, the first special economic zone in the country. These two are among the most populous and important cities in China, and have now become two of the world's most populous megacities and leading financial centres in the Asia-Pacific region. [10]

The province of Guangdong surpassed Henan and Shandong to become the most populous province in China in January 2005, registering 79.1 million permanent residents and 31 million migrants who lived in the province for at least six months of the year; [11] [12] the total population was 126,012,510 in the 2020 Chinese census, accounting for 8.93 percent of mainland China's population. [13] This makes it the most populous first-level administrative subdivision of any country outside of South Asia. The vast majority of the historical Guangdong Province is administered by the People's Republic of China (PRC). Pratas Island in the South China Sea is part of Cijin District, Kaohsiung, Taiwan (ROC); the island was previously part of Guangdong Province before the Chinese Civil War. [14] [15]

After the unification of Lingnan region in the Qin dynasty, the immigrants from the Central Plains moved in and formed the local culture with a unique style. With the outward movement of the Guangdong people, the Hakka and Cantonese languages, music, cuisine, opera and tea ceremony have been spread throughout the nation, Southeast Asia and other countries. Guangdong was also the birthplace of the father of modern China and the founder of the Republic of China, Sun Yat-sen where he later declared a military government in the Warlord Era. The two special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macau fall within the scope of Guangdong cultural influence, and Guangdong culture still has profound influences on the Chinese in Singapore and Malaysia, with the vast majority of the Chinese diaspora in the two countries claiming ancestry from Guangdong Province.

Guangdong is also one of the leading provinces in research and education in China. Guangdong hosts 160 institutions of higher education, ranking first in South Central China region and 2nd among all Chinese provinces/municipalities after Jiangsu. [16] As of 2023, two major cities in the province ranked in the top 20 cities in the world (Guangzhou 9th and Shenzhen 19th) by scientific research output, as tracked by the Nature Index. [17]


"Guǎng" ( traditional Chinese: ; simplified Chinese: 广) means "wide" or "vast", and has been associated with the region since the creation of Guang Prefecture in AD 226. [18] The name "Guang" ultimately came from Guangxin ( 廣信; 广信), an outpost established in Han dynasty near modern Wuzhou, whose name is a reference to an order by Emperor Wu of Han to "widely bestow favors and sow trust". Together, Guangdong and Guangxi are called Loeng gwong (兩廣; 两广; liǎng guǎng) During the Song dynasty, the Two Guangs were formally separated as Guǎngnán Dōnglù (廣南東路; 广南东路; 'East Circuit in Southern Guang') and Guǎngnán Xīlù (廣南西路; 广南西路; 'West Circuit in Southern Guang'), which became abbreviated as Guǎngdōng Lù (廣東路; 广东路) and Guǎngxī Lù (廣西路; 广西路).

"Canton", though etymologically derived from Cantão (the Portuguese transliteration of "Guangdong"), usually by itself refers to the provincial capital Guangzhou. [19] [20] Historically, Canton was also used for the province itself, [21] but often either specified as a province (e.g. Canton Province), [22] or written as Kwangtung in the Wade–Giles system and now most commonly as Guangdong in Pinyin. [23] The local people of the city of Guangzhou (Canton) and their language are called Cantonese in English. Because of the prestige of Canton and its accent, Cantonese can also be used, in a wider sense, for the phylogenetically related residents and Chinese dialects outside the provincial capital.[ citation needed]


Kwangtung Provincial Government of the Republic of China


The Neolithic era began in the Pearl River Delta (珠江三角洲) 7,000 years before present (BP), with the early period from around 7000 to 5000 BP (c. 5050–3050 BC), and the late period from about 5000 to 3500 BP (c. 3050–1550 BC). In coastal Guangdong, the Neolithic was likely introduced from the middle Yangtze River area (Jiao 2013). In inland Guangdong, the neolithic appeared in Guangdong 4,600 years before present (BP). The Neolithic in northern inland Guangdong is represented by the Shixia culture (石峽文化), which occurred from 4600 to 4200 BP (c. 2650–2250 BC). [24]


Originally inhabited by a mixture of tribal groups known to the Chinese as the Baiyue ("Hundred Yue"), the region first became part of China during the Qin dynasty. Under the Qin Dynasty, Chinese administration began and along with it reliable historical records in the region. After establishing the first unified Chinese empire, the Qin expanded southwards and set up Nanhai Commandery at Panyu, near what is now part of Guangzhou. The region was an independent kingdom as Nanyue between the fall of Qin and the reign of Emperor Wu of Han. The Han dynasty administered Guangdong, Guangxi, and northern Vietnam as Jiaozhi Province; southernmost Jiaozhi Province was used as a gateway for traders from the west—as far away as the Roman Empire. Under the Wu Kingdom of the Three Kingdoms period, Guangdong was made its own province, the Guang Province, in 226 CE.[ citation needed]

Canton was a prosperous port city along a tropical frontier region beset by disease and wild animals, but rich in oranges, banyan, bananas, and lychee fruits. They traded slaves, silk and chinaware with Persians, Brahmans and Malays in exchange for their renowned medicines and fragrant tropical woods. Shi'a Muslims who had fled persecution in Khorasan and Buddhists from India lived side by side in the thriving town each erecting their own houses of worship. A foreign quarter sprang up along the river where many traders of diverse backgrounds including Arabs and Singhalese took up residence. [25]

The port's importance declined after it was raided by Arabs and Persians in 758 and the foreign residents were at times troubled by the corrupt local officials, sometimes responding violently. During one incident in 684, for example, a merchant vessel's captain murdered a corrupt governor who had used his position to steal from the merchant. [25]

Together with Guangxi, Guangdong was made part of Lingnan Circuit (political division Circuit), or Mountain-South Circuit, in 627 during the Tang dynasty. The Guangdong part of Lingnan Circuit was renamed Guangnan East Circuit (廣南東路) in 971 during the Song dynasty (960–1279). "Guangnan East" (廣南東) is the source of the name "Guangdong" (廣東; 广东). [26]: 227 

Cantonese food

As time passed, the demographics of what is now Guangdong gradually shifted to ( Han)[ when?] Chinese dominance as the populations intermingled due to commerce along the great canals. From the fall of the Han dynasty onwards, it shifted more abruptly through massive migration from the north during periods of political turmoil and nomadic incursions. For example, internal strife in northern China following the rebellion of An Lushan resulted in a 75% increase in the population of Guangzhou prefecture between the 740s–750s and 800s–810s. [27] As more migrants arrived, the local population was gradually assimilated to Han Chinese culture [28] or displaced.

As Mongols from the north engaged in their conquest of China in the 13th century, the Southern Song court fled southwards from its capital in Hangzhou. The defeat of the Southern Song court by Mongol naval forces in The Battle of Yamen 1279 in Guangdong marked the end of the Southern Song dynasty (960–1279). [29]

During the Mongol Yuan dynasty, large parts of current Guangdong belonged to Jiangxi. [30] Its present name, "Guangdong Province" was given in early Ming dynasty.

Since the 16th century, Guangdong has had extensive trade links with the rest of the world. European merchants coming northwards via the Straits of Malacca and the South China Sea, particularly the Portuguese and British, traded extensively through Guangzhou. Macau, on the southern coast of Guangdong, was the first European settlement in 1557.[ citation needed]

In the 19th century, the opium traded through Guangzhou triggered the First Opium War, opening an era of Western imperialists' incursion and intervention in China. In addition to Macau, which was then a Portuguese colony, Hong Kong was ceded to the British, and Kouang-Tchéou-Wan (modern day area of Zhanjiang) to the French.[ citation needed]

Jiangmen beaches, Guangdong

Due to the large number of people that emigrated out of the Guangdong province, and in particular the ease of immigration from Hong Kong to other parts of the British Empire (later British Commonwealth), many overseas Chinese communities have their origins in Guangdong and/or Cantonese culture. In particular, the Cantonese, Hakka, Teochew dialects have proportionately more speakers among overseas Chinese people than Mandarin-speaking Chinese. Additionally, many Taishanese-speaking Chinese emigrated to Western countries, with the results that many Western versions of Chinese words were derived from the Cantonese dialects rather than through the mainstream Mandarin language, such as " dim sum". Some Mandarin Chinese words originally of foreign origin also came from the original foreign language by way of Cantonese. For example, the Mandarin word níngméng ( simplified Chinese: 柠檬; traditional Chinese: 檸檬), meaning "Lemon", came from Cantonese, in which the characters are pronounced as lìng mung. [31] In the United States, there is a large number of Chinese who are descendants of immigrants from the county-level city of Taishan (Toisan in Cantonese), who speak a distinctive dialect related to Cantonese called Taishanese (or Toishanese).

During the 1850s, the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom, whose leader Hong Xiuquan was born in Guangdong and received a pamphlet from a Protestant Christian missionary in Guangdong, was allied with a local Guangdong Red Turban Rebellion (1854–1856). Because of direct contact with the West, Guangdong was the centre of anti-Manchu and anti-imperialist activity. The generally acknowledged founder of modern China, Sun Yat-sen, was also from Guangdong.

20th century

During the early 1920s of the Republic of China, Guangdong was the staging area for the Kuomintang (KMT) to prepare for the Northern Expedition, an effort to bring the various warlords of China back under a unified central government. The Whampoa Military Academy was built near Guangzhou to train military commanders.

Taishan Xiachuan Island, Guangdong

At the end of the Chinese Civil War Guangdong became one of the Nationalist government's final footholds in Mainland China, with Guangzhou temporarily serving as the Kuomintang's provisional capitol. The People's Liberation Army seized control of the province after the retreat of the government of the Republic of China to Taiwan. [32]

The new Chinese Communist Party administration issued harsh taxes, requisitioning between 22 and 60 percent of grain annually. However, the local party boss Fang Fang tried to moderate Chinese land reform policy in order to protect successful businesses in the Pearl River Delta, landholdings by overseas Chinese seeking to eventually return to the country, and commercial relations with British Hong Kong. In response Mao Zedong purged Fang and thousands of cadres from the province in 1952, sending Tao Zhu to implement a much harsher program under the slogan "Every Village Bleeds, Every Household Fights." [33]

During Reform and Opening Up, Guangdong was supported by the central government to be "one step ahead" of the rest of the country. [34]: 43  Most major cities in Guangdong underwent liberalizing economic reforms in the mid-1980s. [34]: 43  Since Reform and Opening Up, the province has seen extremely rapid economic growth, aided in part by its close trading links with Hong Kong, which borders it. It is now the province with the highest gross domestic product in China.

In 1952, a small section of Guangdong's coastline ( Qinzhou, Lianzhou (now Hepu County), Fangchenggang and Beihai) was given to Guangxi, giving it access to the sea. This was reversed in 1955, and then restored in 1965. Hainan Island was originally part of Guangdong, but it was separated into its own province in 1988.


A horse in Hongshan village

Guangdong faces the South China Sea to the south and has a total of 4,300 km (2,700 mi) of coastline. The Leizhou Peninsula is on the southwestern end of the province. There are a few inactive volcanoes on Leizhou Peninsula. The Pearl River Delta is the convergent point of three upstream rivers: the East River, North River, and West River. The river delta is filled with hundreds of small islands. The province is geographically separated from the north by a few mountain ranges collectively called the Nan Mountains (Nan Ling). The highest peak in the province is Shikengkong with an elevation of 6,240 feet (1,900 meters) above sea level.

Guangdong borders Fujian to the northeast, Jiangxi and Hunan to the north, Guangxi autonomous region to the west, and Hong Kong and Macau Special Administrative Regions to the south. Hainan is offshore across from the Leizhou Peninsula. Pratas Island, which were traditionally governed as part of Guangdong, are part of Cijin District, Kaoshiung, Taiwan (ROC). [35] The PRC continues to claim Pratas Island as part of Guangdong under the district of Chengqu, Shanwei. [36] [37]

Cities around the Pearl River Delta include Dongguan, Foshan, Guangzhou, Huizhou, Jiangmen, Shenzhen, Shunde, Taishan, Zhongshan, and Zhuhai. Other cities in the province include Chaozhou, Chenghai, Nanhai, Shantou, Shaoguan, Zhanjiang, Zhaoqing, Yangjiang, and Yunfu.

Guangdong has a humid subtropical climate ( Köppen Cfa inland, Cwa along the coast). Winters are short, mild, and relatively dry, while summers are long, hot, and very wet. Average daily highs in Guangzhou in January and July are 18 and 33 °C (64 and 91 °F), although the humidity makes it feel hotter in summer. Frost is rare on the coast but may happen a few days each winter.


In 2022, Guangdong's GDP was 13.57 trillion RMB ($1.9 trillion in GDP nominal, $3.78 trillion in PPP), with a per capita GDP of CN¥102,465 (US$15,234 in nominal or US$25,016 in PPP). [8] It is the richest province in South Central China region and the seventh richest among all provinces by GDP per capita. Guangdong has been the largest province by GDP since 1989 in Mainland China. [38] Its GDP exceeded that of Australia ($1.70 trillion) and South Korea ($1.67 trillion), the world's 12th and 13th largest economy, respectively. [39] If it was a country, Guangdong would be the 12th-largest economy as of 2022 and the 11th most populous. [8] Compared to country subdivisions in dollar terms, Guangdong's GDP in nominal is larger than all but four country subdivisions: California, Texas, New York State, and England. Compared to country subdivisions in PPP terms, Guangdong's GDP is larger than all, except California. [39] By PPP terms, as of 2022, Guangdong's economy ranked between Turkey and Italy with a GDP of $3.35 trillion and US$3.06 trillion respectively, the 11th and 12th largest in the world respectively. [39]

Shops in one of the electronic markets of Huaqiangbei, Shenzhen specialize in selling various electronic components, supplying the needs of local and global consumer electronics manufacturers.
Historical GDP of Guangdong Province for 1978 –present (SNA2008) [7]
(purchasing power parity of Chinese Yuan, as Int'l.dollar based on IMF WEO October 2017 [40])
year GDP GDP per capita (GDPpc)
based on mid-year population
Reference index
GDP in millions real
GDPpc exchange rate
1 foreign currency
to CNY
( Int'l$.)
USD 1 Int'l$. 1
2016 8,085,491 1,217,273 2,306,121 7.5 74,016 11,143 21,111 6.6423 3.5061
2015 7,402,743 1,188,546 2,085,809 8.0 68,629 11,019 19,337 6.2284 3.5491
2014 6,890,143 1,121,662 1,940,721 7.8 64,491 10,499 18,165 6.1428 3.5503
2013 6,345,544 1,024,599 1,774,034 8.5 59,756 9,649 16,706 6.1932 3.5769
2012 5,799,354 918,710 1,633,253 8.2 54,973 8,709 15,482 6.3125 3.5508
2011 5,395,920 835,437 1,539,273 10.0 51,523 7,977 14,698 6.4588 3.5055
2010 4,657,712 688,044 1,406,909 12.4 45,284 6,689 13,678 6.7695 3.3106
2005 2,272,329 277,394 794,799 14.1 24,828 3,031 8,684 8.1917 2.8590
2000 1,081,021 130,583 397,536 11.5 12,818 1,548 4,714 8.2784 2.7193
1990 155,903 32,594 91,568 11.6 2,484 519 1,459 4.7832 1.7026
1980 24,965 16,661 16,693 16.6 481 321 322 1.4984 1.4955
1978 18,585 11,039 1.0 370 220 1.6836

After the communist revolution and until the start of the Deng Xiaoping reforms in 1978, Guangdong was an economic backwater, although a large underground, service-based economy has always existed. Economic development policies encouraged industrial development in the interior provinces which were weakly joined to Guangdong via transportation links. The government policy of economic autarky made Guangdong's access to the ocean irrelevant.[ citation needed]

Deng Xiaoping's open door policy radically changed the economy of the province as it was able to take advantage of its access to the ocean, proximity to Hong Kong, and historical links to overseas Chinese. Guangdong was one of the first provinces to receive permission from the central government to receive foreign investment. [41]: 148  In addition, until the 1990s when the Chinese taxation system was reformed, the province benefited from the relatively low rate of taxation placed on it by the central government due to its post-Liberation status of being economically backward.[ citation needed]

Shenzhen famous building and tourist attractions

Guangdong's economic boom began with the early 1990s and has since spread to neighboring provinces, and also pulled their populations inward. The economic growth of Guangdong province owes much to the low-value-added manufacturing which characterized (and in many ways still defines) the province's economy following Deng Xiaoping's reforms. Guangdong is not only China's largest exporter of goods, it is the country's largest importer as well. [42]

The province is now one of the richest in the nation, with the most billionaires in mainland China, [43] the highest GDP among all the provinces, although wage growth has only recently begun to rise due to a large influx of migrant workers from neighboring provinces. By 2015, the local government of Guangdong hopes that the service industry will account for more than 50 percent of the provinces GDP and high-tech manufacturing another 20 percent. [42]

In 2021, Guangdong's primary, secondary, and tertiary industries were worth 534 billion RMB (US$79.4 billion), 5.28 trillion RMB (US$785.6 billion), and 7.09 trillion RMB (US$1.05 trillion), respectively. [8] Guangdong contributes approximately 10.6% of the total national economic output. [8] Now, it has three of the six Special Economic Zones: Shenzhen, Shantou and Zhuhai. The affluence of Guangdong, however, remains very concentrated near the Pearl River Delta.

Economic and technological development zones

  • Shenzhen Export Processing Zone
  • Shenzhen Futian Free Trade Zone [44]
  • Shenzhen Hi-Tech Industrial Park
  • Yantian Port Free Trade Zone
  • Foshan National New & Hi-Tech Industrial Development Zone [45]
  • Guangzhou Development District
  • Guangzhou Export Processing Zone
  • Guangzhou Free Trade Zone
  • Guangzhou Nansha Economic and Technical Development Zone
  • Guangzhou Nanhu Lake Tourist Holiday Resort (Chinese Version)
  • Guangzhou New & Hi-Tech Industrial Development Zone
  • Huizhou Dayawan Economic and Technological Development Zone
  • Huizhou Export Processing Zone
  • Huizhou Zhongkai Hi-Tech Development Zone
  • Nansha Free Trade Zone
  • Shantou Free Trade Zone
  • Shatoujiao Free Trade Zone
  • Zhanjiang Economic and Technological Development Zone (Chinese Version)
  • Zhuhai National Hi-Tech Industrial Development Zone
  • Zhuhai Free Trade Zone
  • Zhongshan Torch High-tech Industrial Development Zone


Historical population
Year Pop. ±%
1912 [46] 28,011,000—    
1928 [47] 32,428,000+15.8%
1936–37 [48] 32,453,000+0.1%
1947 [49] 27,210,000−16.2%
1954 [50] 34,770,059+27.8%
1964 [51] 42,800,849+23.1%
1982 [52] 59,299,220+38.5%
1990 [53] 62,829,236+6.0%
2000 [54] 85,225,007+35.6%
2010 [55] 104,303,132+22.4%
2020 [2]126,012,510+20.8%
Hainan Province part of Guangdong Province until 1988.
Guangzhou part of Guangdong Province until 1947; dissolved in 1954 and incorporated into Guangdong Province.

Guangdong officially became the most populous province in 2005. [11] [12] Official statistics had traditionally placed Guangdong as the fourth-most populous province of China with about 80 million people, though an influx of migrants, temporary workers, and newly settled individuals numbered around 30 million. [56] The massive influx of migrants from other provinces, dubbed the "floating population", is due to Guangdong's booming economy and high demand for labor. If Guangdong were an independent nation, it would rank among the twelfth largest countries of the world by population.


Guangzhou is the third largest city in the People's Republic of China

In 2021, Guangdong's population is 74.6% urban and 25.4% rural. [8]


Guangdong is the ancestral home of large numbers of overseas Chinese. Most of the railroad laborers in Canada, the Western United States and Panama in the 19th century came from Guangdong, especially the Siyi area. Many people from the region also traveled to California and other parts of the United States during the gold rush of 1849, and also to Australia during its gold rush a decade or so later.

Languages and ethnicities

The majority of the province's population is Han Chinese. Within the Han Chinese, the largest subgroup in Guangdong are the Cantonese people. Two other major groups are the Teochew people in Chaoshan and the Hakka people in Huizhou, Meizhou, Heyuan, Shaoguan and Zhanjiang. Shaozhou Tuhua is spoken in Shaoguan and Leizhou Min is spoken in the Leizhou Peninsula. There is a small Yao population in the north. Other smaller minority groups include She, Miao, Li, and Zhuang.

Gender ratio

Guangdong has a highly unbalanced gender ratio that is among the highest of all provinces in China. According to a 2009 study published in The British Medical Journal, in the 1–4 age group, there are over 130 boys for every 100 girls. [57]


Religion in Guangdong (2012) [58]

   Irreligious or folk religion (90.7%)
   Buddhism (6.2%)
   Protestantism (1.9%)
   Catholicism (1.2%)

According to a 2012 survey [58] only around 7% of the population of Guangdong belongs to organised religions, the largest groups being Buddhists with 6.2%, followed by Protestants with 1.8% and Catholics with 1.2%. Around 90% of the population is either irreligious or may be involved in Chinese folk religion worshipping nature gods, ancestral deities, popular sects, Taoist traditions, Buddhist religious traditions & Confucian religious traditions.

According to a survey conducted in 2007, 43.71% of the population believes and is involved in ancestor veneration, [59] the traditional Chinese religion of the lineages organised into lineage churches and ancestral shrines.

The Buddhist Yuhua Temple in Ronggui, Shunde.
Temple of Huang Daxian in Guangzhou.
Temple of Nanhaishen (God of the Southern Sea) in Guangzhou.
Temple of Tianhou in Chiwan, Shenzhen.
Temple of the Chenghuangshen (City God) of Jieyang.
Temple of the Great Buddha in Guangzhou.


Guangdong is governed by a one-party system like the rest of China. The Governor is in charge of provincial affairs; however, the Communist Party Secretary, often from outside of Guangdong, keeps the Governor in check.


According to Freedom House's China Dissent Monitor, Guangdong accounted for 17% of dissent events in the first quarter of 2024 – over 100 events despite heavy Censorship in China. [60] In 2024, Freedom House rated China as below zero on political rights (−2 out of 40). [61]

Relations with Hong Kong and Macau

Hong Kong and Macau, while historically parts of Guangdong before becoming colonies of the United Kingdom and Portugal, respectively, are special administrative regions (SARs). Furthermore, the Basic Laws of both SARs explicitly forbid provincial governments from intervening in local politics. As a result, many issues with Hong Kong and Macau, such as border policy and water rights, have been settled by negotiations between the SARs' governments and the Guangdong provincial government.


Guangdong and the greater Guangzhou area are served by several Radio Guangdong stations, Guangdong Television, Southern Television Guangdong, Shenzhen Television, and Guangzhou Television. There is an English programme produced by Radio Guangdong which broadcasts information about this region to the entire world through the WRN Broadcast.


Put chai ko cake

The central region, which is also the political and economic center, is populated predominantly by Yue Chinese speakers, though the influx in the last three decades of millions of Mandarin-speaking immigrants has slightly diminished Cantonese linguistic dominance. This region is associated with Cantonese cuisine. Dim Sum is one famous example of Cantonese cuisine, dividing Cantonese food into small portions and served with small dishes. Cantonese opera is a form of Chinese opera popular in Cantonese speaking areas. Related Yue dialects are spoken in most of the western half of the province.

The area comprising the cities of Chaozhou, Shantou and Jieyang in coastal east Guangdong, known as Chaoshan, forms its own cultural sphere. The Teochew people here, along with Hailufeng Min people in Shanwei, speak Hokkien, which is a Min dialect closely related to mainstream Southern Min (Hokkien) and their cuisine is Teochew cuisine. Teochew opera is also well-known and has a unique form.

The Hakka people live in large areas of Guangdong, including Huizhou, Meizhou, Shenzhen, Heyuan, Shaoguan and other areas. Much of the Eastern part of Guangdong is populated by the Hakka people except for the Chaozhou and Hailufeng area. Hakka culture include Hakka cuisine, Han opera ( simplified Chinese: 汉剧; traditional Chinese: 漢劇), Hakka Hanyue and sixian (traditional instrumental music) and Hakka folk songs (客家山歌).

Jieyang architecture

The outcast Tanka people traditionally live on boats throughout the coasts and rivers of Guangdong and much of Southern China.

Zhanjiang in southern Guangdong is dominated by the Leizhou dialect, a variety of Minnan; Cantonese and Hakka are also spoken there.

Mandarin is the language used in education and government and in areas where there are migrants from other provinces, above all in Shenzhen. Cantonese maintains a strong and dominant position in common usage and media, even in eastern areas of the province where the local languages and dialects are non-Yue ones.

Guangdong Province is notable for being the birthplace of many famous Xiangqi (Chinese chess) grandmasters such as Lü Qin, Yang Guanli, Cai Furu and Xu Yinchuan.

Education and research

As of 2022, Guangdong hosts 160 institutions of higher education, ranking first in South Central China region and 2nd among all Chinese provinces/municipalities after Jiangsu (168). [16] Guangdong is also the seat of 14 adult higher education institutions. [16] Many universities and colleges are located in major cities like Shenzhen and Guangzhou. Guangzhou, the capital of Guangdong, hosts 83 institutions of higher education (excluding adult colleges), ranking 1st in South China region and 2nd (tie) nationwide after Beijing. [62] Guangdong Province Department of Education is the department of the provincial government that oversees education.

As of 2023, two major cities in the province ranked in the top 20 cities in the world (Guangzhou 8th and Shenzhen 19th) by scientific research output, as tracked by the Nature Index. [17]

Colleges and universities

National / Double First-Class

Guangzhou (7)
Shenzhen University – Medical building



Tianhe Stadium in Guangzhou

List of current professional sports based in Guangdong:

Sport League Tier Club City Stadium
Football Chinese Super League 1st Shenzhen Peng City Shenzhen Bao'an Stadium
Football Chinese Super League 1st Meizhou Hakka Wuhua Wuhua County Stadium
Football China League One 2nd Guangzhou F.C. Guangzhou Huadu Stadium
Football China League One 2nd Foshan Nanshi Foshan Nanhai Sports Center
Futsal China Futsal League 1st Zhuhai Mingshi Zhuhai Zhuhai Sports Centre
Basketball Chinese Basketball Association 1st Guangdong Southern Tigers Dongguan Nissan Sports Centre
Basketball Chinese Basketball Association 1st Shenzhen Leopards Shenzhen Shenzhen Universiade Sports Centre
Basketball Chinese Basketball Association 1st Guangzhou Long-Lions Guangzhou Tianhe Gymnasium
Basketball National Basketball League 2nd Hefei Yuanchuang Foshan
Basketball Women's Basketball Association 1st Guangdong Asia Aluminum Zhaoqing Zhaoqing Stadium
Volleyball Men's Volleyball League Div A 1st Guangdong GSports Shenzhen Shenzhen Gymnasium
Volleyball Women's Volleyball League Div A 1st Guangdong Evergrande Shenzhen Shenzhen Gymnasium
Volleyball Women's Volleyball League Div A 1st Shenzhen Phoenix Shenzhen
Baseball China National Baseball League 1st Guangdong Leopards Guangzhou Huangcun Stadium
Table Tennis China Table Tennis Super League 1st Shenzhen Bao'an Mingjinhai Shenzhen Bao'an Stadium
Esports( Overwatch) Overwatch League 1st Guangzhou Charge Guangzhou Tianhe Gymnasium
Esports ( League of Legends) League of Legends Pro League 1st Victory Five Shenzhen Shenzhen Media Group Longgang Production Center


Huangmanzhai Waterfall

Notable attractions include Danxia Mountain in Shaoguan, Yuexiu Hill, Baiyun Mountain in Guangzhou, Star Lake and the Seven Star Crags, Dinghu Mountain in Zhaoqing, the Huangmanzhai waterfalls in Jieyang, and the Zhongshan Sun Wen Memorial Park for Sun Yat-sen in Zhongshan. In Shenzhen, there are Window of the World, Tencent Building, Happy Valley theme park, Rose Beach, Xiaomeisha Beach, etc.

Administrative divisions

Guangdong is divided into twenty-one prefecture-level divisions: all prefecture-level cities (including two sub-provincial cities):

Administrative divisions of Guangdong
Division code [63] Division Area in km2 [64] Population 2020 [65] Seat Divisions [66]
Districts Counties Aut. counties CL cities
440000 Guangdong Province 179,800.00 126,012,510 Guangzhou city 65 34 3 20
440100 Guangzhou city 7,434.40 18,676,605 Yuexiu District 11
440200 Shaoguan city 18,412.53 2,855,131 Zhenjiang District 3 4 1 2
440300 Shenzhen city 1,996.78 17,560,061 Futian District 9*
440400 Zhuhai city 1,724.32 2,439,585 Xiangzhou District 3
440500 Shantou city 2,248.39 5,502,031 Jinping District 6 1
440600 Foshan city 3,848.49 9,498,863 Chancheng District 5
440700 Jiangmen city 9,505.42 4,798,090 Pengjiang District 3 4
440800 Zhanjiang city 13,225.44 6,981,236 Chikan District 4 2 3
440900 Maoming city 11,424.8 6,174,050 Maonan District 2 3
441200 Zhaoqing city 14,891.23 4,113,594 Duanzhou District 3 4 1
441300 Huizhou city 11,342.98 6,042,852 Huicheng District 2 3
441400 Meizhou city 15,864.51 3,873,239 Meijiang District 2 5 1
441500 Shanwei city 4,861.79 2,672,819 Cheng District 1 2 1
441600 Heyuan city 15,653.63 2,837,686 Yuancheng District 1 5
441700 Yangjiang city 7,955.27 2,602,959 Jiangcheng District 2 1 1
441800 Qingyuan city 19,152.90 3,969,473 Qingcheng District 2 2 2 2
441900 Dongguan city** 2,465.00 10,466,625 Nancheng Subdistrict
442000 Zhongshan city** 1,783.67 4,418,060 Dongqu Subdistrict
445100 Chaozhou city 3,145.89 2,568,387 Xiangqiao District 2 1
445200 Jieyang city 5,265.38 5,577,814 Rongcheng District 2 2 1
445300 Yunfu city 7,779.12 2,383,350 Yuncheng District 2 2 1

* – not including the new districts which are not registered under the Ministry of Civil Affairs (not included in the total Districts' count)
** – direct-piped cities – does not contain any county-level divisions

The twenty-one Prefecture of Guangdong are subdivided into 122 county-level divisions (65 districts, 20 county-level cities, 34 counties, and 3 autonomous counties). For county-level divisions, see the list of administrative divisions of Guangdong.

Urban areas

Population by urban areas of prefecture & county cities
# Cities 2020 Urban area [67] 2010 Urban area [68] 2020 City proper
1 Shenzhen 17,444,609 10,358,381 17,494,398
2 Guangzhou 16,096,724 9,702,144 [b] 18,676,605
3 Dongguan 9,644,871 7,271,322 10,466,625
4 Foshan 9,042,509 6,771,895 9,498,863
5 Zhongshan 3,841,873 2,740,994 4,418,060
6 Shantou 3,838,900 3,644,017 5,502,031
7 Huizhou 2,900,113 1,807,858 6,042,852
8 Zhuhai 2,207,090 1,369,538 2,439,585
9 Jiangmen 1,795,459 1,480,023 4,798,090
10 Zhanjiang 1,400,709 1,038,762 6,981,236
11 Maoming 1,307,802 637,879 [c] 6,174,050
12 Chaozhou 1,254,007 448,226 [d] 2,568,387
13 Jieyang 1,242,906 734,670 [e] 5,577,814
14 Qingyuan 1,197,581 639,659 [f] 3,969,473
15 Zhaoqing 1,035,810 559,887 [g] 4,113,594
16 Shaoguan 1,028,460 726,267 2,855,131
17 Puning 935,668 874,954 see Jieyang
18 Yangjiang 859,595 499,053 [h] 2,602,959
19 Meizhou 694,495 353,769 [i] 3,873,239
20 Heyuan 662,950 450,953 2,837,686
21 Lufeng 545,474 579,527 see Shanwei
22 Gaozhou 490,301 352,006 see Maoming
23 Huazhou 472,746 320,418 see Maoming
24 Sihui 452,536 355,709 see Zhaoqing
25 Lianjiang 443,812 359,225 see Zhanjiang
26 Taishan 433,266 394,855 see Jiangmen
27 Kaiping 430,035 371,019 see Jiangmen
28 Xinyi 418,731 333,965 see Maoming
29 Leizhou 412,291 344,043 see Zhanjiang
30 Yingde 398,066 346,927 see Qingyuan
31 Wuchuan 388,714 332,672 see Zhanjiang
32 Yunfu 380,044 242,040 [j] 2,383,350
33 Xingning 365,661 392,000 see Meizhou
34 Yangchun 360,359 287,391 see Yangjiang
35 Shanwei 345,373 370,608 2,738,482
36 Heshan 334,432 282,580 see Jiangmen
37 Luoding 317,060 263,338 see Yunfu
38 Enping 251,742 244,257 see Jiangmen
39 Lechang 199,438 191,457 see Shaoguan
40 Lianzhou 176,572 161,667 see Qingyuan
41 Nanxiong 171,215 140,017 see Shaoguan
Zengcheng see Guangzhou 710,146 [b] see Guangzhou
Conghua see Guangzhou 229,118 [b] see Guangzhou
Gaoyao see Zhaoqing 224,755 [g] see Zhaoqing
  1. ^ UK: /ɡwæŋˈdʊŋ/, US: /ɡwɑːŋ-/ [6]
  2. ^ a b c New districts established after 2010 census: Conghua (Conghua CLC) & Zengcheng (Zengcheng CLC). These new districts not included in the urban area count of the pre-expanded city.
  3. ^ New district established after 2010 census: Dianbai (Dianbai County). The new district not included in the urban area count of the pre-expanded city.
  4. ^ New district established after 2010 census: Chao'an (Chao'an County). The new district not included in the urban area count of the pre-expanded city.
  5. ^ New district established after 2010 census: Jiedong (Jiedong County). The new district not included in the urban area count of the pre-expanded city.
  6. ^ New district established after 2010 census: Qingxin (Qingxin County). The new district not included in the urban area count of the pre-expanded city.
  7. ^ a b New district established after 2010 census: Gaoyao (Gaoyao CLC). The new district not included in the urban area count of the pre-expanded city.
  8. ^ New district established after 2010 census: Yangdong (Yangdong County). The new district not included in the urban area count of the pre-expanded city.
  9. ^ New district established after 2010 census: Meixian (Meixian County). The new district not included in the urban area count of the pre-expanded city.
  10. ^ New district established after 2010 census: Yun'an (Yun'an County). The new district not included in the urban area count of the pre-expanded city.

International relations

Guangdong is twinned with:

See also




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