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8 Guangdong cities highly recognized, Guangzhou especially valued by Central Government
Update: 2017-08-08     Source: lifeofguangzhou.com

In accordance with the relevant provisions of the General Office of the State Council, the overall planning of 106 cities in China needs approval from the State Council. It is understood that these cities are of great importance for the Central Government. Ten cities of Guangdong province are included in the list, namely Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Shantou, Zhanjiang, Jiangmen, Huizhou, Zhuhai, Foshan, Zhongshan and Dongguan.  

For the 2020 city planning, approval has been returned to the above-listed cities except for Dongguan and Zhongshan, which have no districts in their administrative structure. The remaining eight cities have had national orientations from the State Council. 

Guangzhou: capital city of Guangdong province; a historical and cultural city in China; an important central city of China; an international business center; an integrated transportation hub of China.

Overall requirements: Guangzhou should continuously improve its comprehensive functions and increase its regional radiation and drive ability as well as international influences.


Night view of the Pearl River

For Guangzhou, however, the requirements are much different. Guangzhou is expected to not only improve its comprehensive functions, but also increase the regional radiation and drive ability as well as international influences. That is, Guangzhou should not merely do its own things, but take a lead among the surrounding cities and even establish a prominent presence in the world.

The Central Government has attached great importance to Guangzhou, and such recognition is manifested with three key words. 

Central city 

Of the above eight cities with national orientations, there are only two national cities — Guangzhou (an important central city of China) and Shenzhen (a national economic central city). According to its orientation, Guangzhou has been upgraded from a central city in South China to an important central city in China. The other six cities, Zhuhai, Foshan, Shantou, Huizhou, Jiangmen and Zhanjiang, are regional central cities in the Pearl River Delta area. 

In policies, China has designated eight national central cities, which are Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chongqing, Chengdu, Wuhan and Zhengzhou. Given this honorable name, a national central city has the privilege to win more support; however, it will also take more responsibilities.

Guangzhou: transformation from virtual economy to real economy 

Guangzhou has had a relatively stable real estate market, where no big surge has occurred. This has reduced costs and left room for the development of the real economy. 

In the first quarter this year, Guangzhou saw increases in both the industrial electricity consumption (up 6 percent) and the railway freight volume (up 10.7 percent), which are two key indicators in measuring and have seen the highest growth in five years. The airport passenger throughput of Guangzhou, which indicates the dynamism of business and trade, increased by 12.5 percent, the highest among the six major airports on the Chinese mainland.  

From January to March, 4,269 market subjects of the manufacturing industry were newly registered, up 92.47 percent from a year ago. This has overturned the sluggish growth and demonstrated strong vitality in the manufacturing field. While other cities in China are hugging the virtual economy, Guangzhou is devoted to the transformation into the real economy. 

Integrated transportation hub 

Both Guangzhou and Foshan are oriented as integrated transportation hubs, but of different levels. Guangzhou is designated as a national hub, while Foshan is regional.

The State Council has demanded that Guangzhou and Shenzhen should improve transportation infrastructures including highways, ports, railways and airports. However, Guangzhou has a bigger coverage. Guangzhou is dedicated to promoting the integration of transportation between the Pearl River Delta and the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao area, while Shenzhen is aimed at a closer relationship with Hong Kong. 

According to a statement of the National Development and Reform Commission, work should be done to build international integrated transportation hubs in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, based on the overall situation of China’s urban system.

Guangzhou South Railway Station

During the 13th Five-Year Plan period, Guangzhou aims to complete the construction of 180 transportation projects with a total investment of 400.75 billion yuan (US$59 billion). A two-hour vehicle circle will be formed to cover even Qingyuan and Shaoguan cities. Guangzhou is connected with all the capital cities of the Pan-Pearl River Delta via expressways and will be a hub for nine high-speed passenger railways, namely the Beijing-Guangzhou, Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong, Guangzhou-Zhuhai Intercity, Guiyang-Guangzhou, Nanning-Guangzhou, Shenzhen-Maoming, Beijing-Kowloon and Guangzhou-Shantou railways.

With these constructions, the regional radiation and drive capability of Guangzhou will be greatly improved.

According to Liu He, a member of China’s top think tank and head of a central leading team for economic reforms, the world is experiencing the third wave of urbanization, which features the overall improvement of international competitiveness of large cities through their transportation and network interconnections with small and medium cities. Big cities are becoming more important with such interconnections. The trend has been practiced in many major cities in the world, including London, Paris, Berlin, Frankfort, Amsterdam, Tokyo and Osaka. 

Guangzhou is right on this wave! 


Night in Guangzhou South Railway Station


Of the eight Guangdong cities with national orientations, Guangzhou and Shenzhen are designated as international cities. Guangzhou is expected to be an international business center, while Shenzhen is oriented to be an international city. The orientation for Shenzhen is quite general but consistent with its position as a first-tier city on the mainland along with Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou.

Compared with Beijing, an international exchange center, and Shanghai, an international economic, financial, trade and shipping center, Guangzhou is expected to win more international influences.

In recent years, many state-owned companies have placed their South China headquarters in Guangzhou. Some examples are COSCO Shipping Bulk Co., China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC) and China Railway Group Limited.

Aiming at a prominent international presence, Guangzhou has been wooing multinationals. Many Fortune Global 500 companies have settled down or set up operations in Guangzhou.

By the end of 2016, 288 of the world’s Fortune Global 500 companies had invested to set up 797 projects in Guangzhou, according to Guangzhou Municipal Commission of Commerce.

Zhao Qizheng, former director of the Information Office of the State Council, briefed a press conference at the 1999 Fortune Global Forum in Shanghai, saying, “There is only one city in a country that can have political dialogue with the world, which is the capital city. However, there could be several cities for the economic dialogue.” Which cities in China were then qualified? Zhao answered: “Shanghai and Hong Kong, and maybe Tianjin and Guangzhou in the future.”

Zhao’s prediction has come true! Guangzhou is now able to start an economic dialogue with the world, and we should entrust Guangzhou with full confidence!

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