As the provincial capital, Guangzhou is the political, economic, technology, education and cultural centre of Guangdong. The municipality has an area of 7,434 sq km and, as of the end of 2016, its permanent population stood at 14.04 million. The city lies on the northern edge of the Pearl River Delta and is the central city for the South China region, as well as a key transportation and communications hub. In the 2016 China Urban Competitiveness Report, as compiled by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Guangzhou ranked fifth for “comprehensive economic competitiveness”. In terms of 2016 container throughput, it was also China’s fourth busiest port.
At present, Guangzhou’s high-tech industry is flourishing. In 2016, the output value of its high-tech products represented 46% of the total output value of all industrial enterprises above a designated scale. The expansion of eight of the city’s core industries – automotive, electronics, petrochemicals, electrical and thermal energy, electrical appliances and machinery, general and specialized equipment, rail/ship/aviation/aerospace equipment and pharmaceuticals – has seen their combined output value now account for 70.9% of the local total.
Guangzhou was also designated as a national commercial distribution hub under the 2015-2020 China Commercial Distribution Node Cities Layout Plan, a recognition of its nationally-connected network of motorways and railways. In terms of air connectivity, Guangzhou’s Baiyun International Airport now has more than 50 international services, as well as servicing 100 domestic destinations. Overall, it is mainland China’s third-busiest airport and handed 59.78 million passengers in 2016. The city’s port, meanwhile, has a cargo handling capacity of 540 million tons and a throughput capacity of 18.85 million standard containers.
The total value of Guangzhou’s 2016 exports accounted for 13.2% of the total value of all of Guangdong’s exports. Among the city’s total exports, machinery/electrical products accounted for 51.9%, with 17.9% also designated as high-tech items.
In 2016, investment in information transmission, computer services and software rose significantly, accounting for 52.1% of Guangzhou’s total actual utilization of FDI. By sector, this investment broke down into finance (11.5%), wholesale/retailing (10.6%) and manufacturing (9.4%). Of the total of actually utilized of FDI in 2015, 79% was sourced from Hong Kong.
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