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The Economic Strength of Guangdong


1. Comprehensive strength in China

Since Guangdong took the lead to carry out the reform and opening-up policy in 1978, its comprehensive economic strength has been ranked near the top in the country; its economic aggregate has gone beyond Singapore, Hong Kong, and Taiwan.

In 2014, the GDP of Guangdong reached 6.78 trillion yuan and the province has broken through the $1 trillion benchmark for two consecutive years, increasing by 7.8 percent from the year before and taking up 10.7 percent of the country's total growth. It has topped the list of provinces for economic performance nationwide for 26 consecutive years.

2. Upgraded industrial structure

Guangdong is making efforts to construct a modern industrial system with advanced and properly oriented industrial structure. In 2014, the advanced manufacturing sector for things such as equipment, automobiles, ships, and airplanes realized a year-on-year increase of 9.2 percent in added value; the added value of the high-tech manufacturing industries such as medicine, aerospace, telecommunications, medical equipment, and computers rose by 11.4 percent.

3. Domestic trade keeps booming

The circulation of industrial goods in Guangdong has continued to develop and the market consumption remains prosperous. The total volume of retail sales of consumer goods in the province has put Guangdong at the top for 32 consecutive years.

Between 2009 and 2014, the total retail sum of consumer goods in Guangdong saw an annual growth rate of 13.8 percent. In 2014, the total retail sum of consumer goods reached 2.84 trillion yuan, increasing by 11.9 percent from the previous year.

4. E-Commerce grows with vigor

E-commerce in Guangdong has thrived in recent years. In 2014, the e-commerce turnover of the province reached 2.6 trillion yuan, increasing by around 30 percent. The network retail sum was 549.7 billion yuan; its proportion to the total retail sum of consumer goods increased by 4.7 percentage points. In the fields of steel, petrochemical engineering, plastics, grain, automobile and electronics, a slew of e-commerce platforms with major influence have emerged in the province.

5. Its foreign trade also has an edge

Between 1978 and 2014, the total import and export volume of Guangdong increased with an average speed of 19.8 percent per year. In 2014, the import and export sum of the whole province reached $1.08 trillion, breaking through the benchmark of $1 trillion for two consecutive years and taking up 25 percent of the country's total. Guangdong's foreign trade sector has taken the lead in China for 29 years in a row.

Hong Kong, the United States, ASEAN, and EU are the main trade partners of Guangdong. Their trade volume with Guangdong accounts for 53.4 percent of the province's total export and import volume.

In recent years, the import and export trade has grown rapidly between Guangdong and newly emerging markets such as Africa, South America, and Russia. A more diversified market pattern has taken shape.

6. Service trade keeps increasing

The service trade in Guangdong has seen steady growth in recent years. According to statistics from the Ministry of Commerce, the total import and export of services in Guangdong exceeded $100.5 billion in 2014, increasing by 4.2 percent year-on-year. The proportion of yearly foreign trade devoted to the service industry increased from 7.7 percent in 2013 to 8.5 percent at present.

Guangdong has taken the lead in realizing free service trade in Guangdong, Hong Kong, and Macao areas under the Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA).

7. Foreign investment continues to grow

Guangdong actively encourages foreign merchants to invest in Guangdong. By the end of 2014, Guangdong attracted 179,000 foreign-funded projects, involving $543.34 billion in contract value. The actual absorption of foreign capital reached $350.62 billion, accounting for one quarter of the country's total.

The effects of cooperation between Guangdong and countries along the Maritime Silk Road have shown promise as well. In 2014, contracted foreign investment by 22 countries along the route reached $2.14 billion and the actual absorption of foreign capital amounted to $1.72 billion, increasing by 66.7 percent and 12.7 percent respectively.

The service industry has become a significant new growth point for Guangdong to absorb foreign funds. In 2014, the contracted foreign investment in the service industry reached $23.55 billion and the actual absorption of foreign funds reached $12.8 billion, increasing by 51 percent and 13.7 percent respectively, which takes up 54.7 percent and 47.6 percent respectively of the total foreign funds introduced province-wide.

8. Investments abroad keep increasing

Guangdong actively follows a strategy of ‘going out' and lends great support for enterprises to ‘go out' and carry out transnational operations. By the end of 2014, the enterprises in Guangdong have set up 6,888 non-financial enterprises in over 100 countries and regions. The contracted Chinese investment sum reached $35.9 billion.

At present, the outbound investment business of Guangdong has been expanded from trade to fields such as manufacturing and processing, cooperative resource development, marketing network construction, and consultancy services.

Source: Guangdong Business Guide 2015 (《广东投资指南2015》) released by Department of Commerce of Guangdong Province.