Guangzhou: the sum of some parts

As we reported earlier this week, Guangzhou is putting in a relatively strong economic performance this year, despite the worst effects of the US-China trade war weighing on trade, the city’s traditional engine of growth. This is largely because it has new growth nodes, not only in certain industries or sectors, but also in its key districts. It is made more evident by a breakdown of the sum of its parts, which shows some of those parts are doing incredibly well, while others are lagging.

Overall, Guangzhou’s GDP grew by 6.9%, 0.6 percentage points higher than the same period last year (6.3%), while also being higher than the national (6.2%) and the province (6.4%). But as the chart below shows, there is a wide variance between the top and bottom districts.

Nansha 10.3%
Tianhe 9.0%
Huangpu 8.3%
Haizhu 8.1%
Baiyun 7.2%
Liwan 6.5%
Zengcheng 6.3%
Huadu 6.2%
Yuexiu 4.5%
Panyu 2.6%
Conghua 2.1%

Well above the city’s average is the southernmost district of Nansha, which has been building like crazy since being designated a special economic zone. (Read our primer.) In the first three quarters of this year, it grew at a sizzling 10.3%. This was down from the 11.9% seen in Q1, but up from Q2’s 9.4%.

Money is pouring into Nansha, with fixed-asset investment up 21.1%. Infrastructure was strongest (+27.6%), followed by industrial (+25.9%) and real estate development (+18.9%) 

Railway development is leading the charge, as Nansha is being built into a hub for the Greater Bay Area. The first section of the Shenzhen-Maoming Railway passing through Nansha is scheduled to start construction before the end of the year. But that is not all. The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology’s Guangzhou campus has started construction here, while the Guangzhou Respiratory Center and the First People’s Hospital accelerated construction.

Tianhe, meanwhile, is the city’ center of growth in services (more on that tomorrow), while Huangpu and Haizhu are leading the growth of the hi-tech manufacturing sector. Baiyun is the center of the city’s transportation hub, with the international airport at its center. That is where train stations and logistics hubs are being built. 

Liwan, Zengcheng and Huadu are getting heavy investments into infrastructure and industrial upgrading. Yuexiu is the older, downtown area that has been largely eclipsed by the rise of the Zhujiang New City are of Tianhe, where all the new malls and higher-end residential complexes have been built.

Panyu and Conghua are the more rural areas to the south and north of the city center, which do well during peak tourism seasons but are being planned for industrial upgrading, too. 

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