Guangzhou, capital of south China's Guangdong Province, boasts a favorable geographical location and time-honored commercial culture, which has contributed to its prosperity over the past millennium.
However, there are worries that Guangzhou has failed to seize the opportunities offered by the burgeoning information technology industry in recent years compared to Shenzhen in Guangdong, where tech giants Tencent and Huawei are based, and Hangzhou in Zhejiang Province, which is home to e-commerce leader Alibaba Group.
Guangzhou thrived in the 1980s due to an export-led economy. However, the city's exports dwindled after the 2008 global financial crisis owing to the rising costs of land and labor.
Nevertheless, Guangzhou's GDP growth rate has remained higher than Beijing and Shanghai over the past five years. Therefore, the key for Guangzhou's development does not lie in speed but quality of growth.
In the past two years, Guangzhou has attracted a large number of foreign enterprises to launch huge industrial projects. It also plans to develop emerging industries featuring new energy and new materials.
The city also aims to develop itself into an international aviation and shipping hub. By 2020, a four-hour traffic network connecting Guangzhou with other major cities in China and Southeast Asia is expected to take shape.
In addition, Guangzhou has a comfortable living environment with clean air and a famous local cuisine, making it a great draw for investors.
Guangzhou is keen on embracing new technologies and favorable policies, as well as making full use of its talent pool, especially entrepreneurs, who contribute greatly to local development.
(This is an edited excerpt of an article published in Oriental Outlook on April 12)