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Guangzhou (Guangdong) City Information

Major Economic Indicators

Economic Indicators20172018
(%, y-o-y)
(%, y-o-y)
Gross Domestic Product (RMB billion)2,150.37.012,285.96.21
Per Capita GDP (RMB)
Added Value Output
- Primary Industry (RMB billion)22.12.2122.32.51
- Secondary Industry (RMB billion)601.14.61623.45.41
- Tertiary Industry (RMB billion)1,527.28.211,640.26.61
Value-added Industrial Output2 (RMB billion)487.796.51562.175.51
Fixed-assets Investment (RMB billion)592.05.7593.88.2
Retail Sales of Consumer Goods (RMB billion)940.38.0925.67.6
Inflation (Consumer Price Index, %)2.32.4
Exports (RMB billion)579.212.3560.8-3.2
Imports (RMB billion)392.316.0420.37.1
Utilised Foreign Direct Investment (US$ billion)6.28910.36.6115.1

1 In renminbi real terms
2 For all state-owned and other forms of enterprises with annual sales of over RMB20 million
Source: Guangzhou Statistical Yearbook 2018, Guangzhou Municipal Statistics Bureau

General Background

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 2018, its permanent population stood at 14.9 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 2017 China Urban Competitiveness Report, as compiled by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Guangzhou ranked fifth for “comprehensive economic competitiveness”. In terms of 2018 container throughput, it was also the mainland’s fourth busiest port.

The Outline Development Plan for the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area supports Guangzhou to be one of the core engines for regional development. Together, Guangzhou and Foshan will be the leading roles. The Plan supports Guangzhou to comprehensively strengthen its functions as an international commerce and industry centre and integrated transport hub, to enhance its function as technological, educational and cultural centres, and develop into a global metropolis, to pursue the development of the “Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong-Macao” innovation and technology corridor.


The main contributor to Guangzhou’s GDP is the tertiary industry, with its overall share having risen from 57.7% in 2006 to 71.8% in 2018.

Composition of GDP (%)

Primary Industry
Secondary Industry40.2
Tertiary Industry57.7

Source: Guangzhou Municipal Statistics Bureau

At present, Guangzhou’s high-tech industry is flourishing. In 2017, the output value of its high-tech products represented 39% 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 specialised equipment, rail/ship/aviation/aerospace equipment and pharmaceuticals – has seen their combined output value now account for 70% 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 69.72 million passengers in 2018. The city’s port, meanwhile, has a cargo handling capacity of 613 million tonnes and a throughput capacity of 21.9 million standard containers.

Of all the mainland cities engaged in cross-border e-trading, Guangzhou’s level of investment and overall involvement has seen it established as far and away the most significant player. In 2017 Guangzhou’s total import-export value of cross-border e-commerce was RMB 22.77 billion, grew by 55.1%.

In April 2015, the Nansha New Area sub-zone of the China (Guangdong) Pilot Free Trade Zone was officially launched. This ushered in a free trade in services with Hong Kong and Macau and saw the opening of a new shipping and logistics centre with a focus on international trade and a brief to lead the way in terms of financial innovation.

According to the city’s own 13th Five-Year Plan, Guangzhou will be developed into a key national central city, an international commercial centre and an integrated transportation hub, complete with a robust shipping, logistics, trade and finance services sector.

Foreign Trade and Investment

The total value of Guangzhou’s 2017 exports accounted for 13.7% of the total value of all of Guangdong’s exports. Among the city’s total exports, machinery/electrical products accounted for 51.5%, with 17.1% also designated as high-tech items.

In 2017, investment in information transmission, computer services and software rose significantly, accounting for 31% of Guangzhou’s total actual utilisation of FDI. By sector, this investment broke down into finance (10%), wholesale/retailing (6.1%) and manufacturing (13.9%). Of the total of actually utilised of FDI in 2017, 82.4% was sourced from Hong Kong.

It terms of its tourism and entertainment resources, Guangzhou has quite a diverse offering, including a host of national AAA- and AAAA-class tourist attractions, theme parks and rural vacation spots. In an expected boost to the sector, the Nansha Integrated Cruise Terminal will become operational in 2019, with the facility expected to handle 750,000 tourists annually. In 2018, Guangzhou welcomed 65.33 million overnight visitors, with 3.4 million of these originating from overseas.



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