September 2017

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Page 72 of 85 | Mobility 69 G uangzhou might not have the international star power of Beijing or the sophisticated sheen of Shanghai, but the city of 14 million people from all over China and around the world stands on its own as a hub of global transport and trade. The anchor of the southern China megalopolis, Guangzhou occupies the heart of the Pearl River Delta, sharing the region with high-tech Shenzhen and industrial Dongguan. It's the capital of bustling Guangdong province, and only an hour or two from Hong Kong. One of China's first free-trade zones and host of the semiannual China Import and Export Fair, Guangzhou is an ancient city with modern sensibilities. Once known to the world as Canton, the city has a history as an international trade hub that stretches back more than 2,000 years. Today, skyscrapers such as the dazzling and energy-efficient Pearl River Tower rise from center city, but expats veering off the beaten path can find ancient Buddhist temples and lush botanical gardens. Maxxelli's "China International Cities Index" (CICI) gives Guangzhou high marks for global economic strength, based on its import and export value and its foreign companies, retail banks, and Fortune 500 companies. The city also scores well in international commerce and infrastructure connectivity, and for its cultural scene. In fact, Guangzhou ranked first in the CICI in government and political engagement, with a "strikingly high" 51 foreign consulates and seven foreign chambers of commerce. Guangzhou (pronounced "kwong-CHO"), is also a city in transi - tion. The "factory of China" still produces textiles and other goods for worldwide use, but a new focus on service industries is filling up corporate offices. The future of Guangzhou looks bright. A new kind of expat, skilled in financial affairs, is expected to join those linked to the traditional manu - facturing base. Expats assigned here will find themselves immersed in an ancient culture reinventing itself for 21st-century commerce. DESTINATION PROFILE: Southern China's historical trade and transportation hub By Meng Ziang Chy and M. Diane McCormick GUANGZHOU

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