Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Guangzhou goes for classic charm and modern vitality

by damith
January 21, 2024 1:04 am 0 comment 922 views

From Uditha Kumarasinghe in Guangzhou

Guangzhou, the Capital of Guangdong Province is a comprehensive gateway to China and plays a pivotal role in driving the growth of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area. As a national commercial centre, a comprehensive transport hub as well as a gathering place of scientific, technological, educational, cultural and medical resources, Guangzhou is intensifying its efforts to build itself into an international metropolis of classic charm and modern vitality.

Director General of Guangzhou Foreign Affairs Office Zhan Decum

Director General of Guangzhou Foreign Affairs Office Zhan Decum

Covering an area of 7,434 square kilometres, the city administers 11 districts, which are home to a permanent population of nearly 18.73 million. Guangzhou has a rich in historic and cultural heritage. It was initially built during the Qin Dynasty (221-206 BCE) and was named Panyu. In the more than 2,200 years since its founding, the city has been at the forefront of China’s opening-up, with flourishing international exchanges in trade, technology, personnel and civilisation. Opening-up and inclusiveness are in the genes of the city giving it a reputation as a “millennia-old commercial hub.”

Friendly relations

Guangzhou has established friendly relations with 102 foreign cities and 54 international ports. Home to 68 foreign consulates general, the city had developed an all-around, wide-ranging and multifaceted international exchange pattern.

After the People’s Republic of China was founded in 1949, Guangzhou was among the first batch of coastal cities chosen for opening-up in the country. The China Import and Export Fair, commonly known as the Canton Fair has been held in Guangzhou 132 times since its inception in 1957. It is a comprehensive international trading event, registering the longest history, the highest buyer attendance, the broadest distribution of buyers’ home countries and the largest volume of deals signed among the trade shows in the country. The Canton Fair provides a window into China’s opening-up and signals the country’s progress in this field. The Canton Fair has not only put Guangzhou’s profile at the forefront of the world, but also helped to make the city such an important investment destination for multinational companies.

Pearl River at Guangzhou at night

Pearl River at Guangzhou at night

The major events it has hosted include the Fortune Global Forum, Metropolis World Congress, BRICS Games, Guangzhou Award for Urban Innovation and Global Mayors’ Forum, the World Routes, IAPH World Ports Conference, Guangzhou Annual Investment Conference in China, Understanding China Conference (Guangzhou), Imperial Springs International Forum, China Forum on International Legal Cooperation, Greater Bay Area Science Forum, Guangdong 21st Century Maritime Silk Road International Expo and the Global Investment Promotion Conference for the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.

President Xi Jinping has declared that the Communist Party of China takes the Chinese people’s wellbeing as its abiding goal. Adhering to a people-centered development philosophy, Guangzhou’s municipal government combines its pursuit of high-quality development with the satisfaction of people’s wishes for a better life. It has worked tirelessly to improve people’s livelihoods.

Education groups

At present, 138 education groups operate in the city. All 11 districts in the city have been equipped with municipal quality education resources and special education schools. Guangzhou was the only Chinese city to join the UNESCO Global Network of Learning Cities (GNLC) in 2022.

Guangzhou Opera House

Guangzhou Opera House

The southern city of Guangzhou, boasting a long history as a commercial centre is striving to implement President Xi Jinping’s instructions on breathing new life into the historical city and has made noticeable progress in social and economic development, leveraging its connectivity, logistic network, industrial strength and a huge consumer market.

The city has 84 universities and colleges, ranking second in China. There are 1.4 million university students in Guangzhou, ranking first in the country. The city is home to 97 percent of the national key disciplines and 95 percent of doctoral students in Guangdong Province. All seven universities in the province included in the country’s Double World-Class Project, which supports universities and disciplines in pursuing a world-class status are in Guangzhou. The city also hosts 21 national key labs and 251 provincial key labs and is home to more than 12,000 high-tech enterprises.

Guangzhou ranked at the forefront among megacities in China by major indexes on greening. The city’s urban green ratio reached 38.26 percent, urban green coverage represented 43.6 percent, the forest coverage rate rose to 41.6 percent and per capita public green area was 17.2 square metres. There are 1,298 parks (including 38 general parks, 112 community parks, 47 special parks, 122 ecological parks and 979 entertainment parks) and 3,832 kilometres of greenways across the city.

Canton Fair Complex in Guangzhou

Canton Fair Complex in Guangzhou

Women in Guangzhou have been extensively involved in economic and social development and their capabilities and skills have been improved. Women account for nearly half of senior professional and technical personnel in the city’s state-owned enterprises. To meet the needs of children, Guangzhou has set up 13 parks, 13 activity centers and 2,814 community facilities for children. The city has also set up 75 public service centres for children in rural areas called Rural School Children’s Palaces. Guangzhou has been a multicultural stronghold where ethnic groups live together and different religious cultures blend and co-exist. It is a city where people from all 56 ethnicities of China have settled down and five major religions in the world have developed.

Modern revolution

Guangzhou, which can claim a history of more than 2,200 years is among China’s first batch of historically and culturally renowned cities. It is a starting point of the Maritime Silk Road, a source of modern revolution, a hub of Lingnan culture and a forerunner of China’s reform and opening up. The city has developed characteristic traditional customs, involving festivals, habits, beliefs and folk literature and art. These customs could be developed in part due to the city’s geographical location, climate and diverse cultures.

An aerial view of the Guangzhou South Railway Station

An aerial view of the Guangzhou South Railway Station

Director General of Guangzhou Foreign Affairs Office Zhan Decum said that they look forward to more Sri Lankans coming and engaging in business in Guangzhou which is the capital and largest city of Guangdong Province in Southern China. Speaking to a group of visiting Sri Lankan journalists at the Garden Hotel, Guangzhou, he said China maintains close bilateral relationships with all countries including Sri Lanka. He said “We are looking forward to more quality products from Sri Lanka. China has the latest electronic products which can meet the demands of the Sri Lankan consumers, especially journalists.”

Decum said, “The concept of the Chinese Government is not only to benefit the Chinese people but also to benefit all. During the past 40 years, China has helped 800 to 1,000 million people to alleviate their poverty. Our objective is to assist people to lead a prosperous life.” During the past few years, China has achieved a vast development under the leadership of Chinese President Xi Jinping, he said.

He said China and Sri Lanka has a longstanding history and maintains a close bilateral relationship over the past so many decades. China has a close contact with the Sri Lankan Consulate in Guangzhou. He said Guangzhou has established business with over 105 cities around the world. Sixty-five international conferences and events were held in Guangzhou last year. “We have made a big step towards improving the living conditions of the people in the province.”

Decum said that there are nearly 15,000 enterprises in Guangzhou. At present, people in rural areas of Guangzhou are intellectually developed and educated. Schools, hospitals and community centres are available in those rural areas. Through the e-commerce platform, it has become easy for the people in rural areas to sell their products. In addition, expressways, railway and information technology have also immensely supported these initiatives. A member of the Communist Party also plays a pioneering role in those areas to make this endeavour a success.

At present Guangzhou has developed a lot and there are so many high-tech companies in Guangzhou. Plans are also under way to build a Science Park at Guangzhou. Guangzhou high-tech development has expanded rapidly after opening up China to the world. The Central Government of China has immensely helped to develop Guangzhou. “We have made miracles together with people and the Government,” he added.

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