Guangzhou, one of China’s key national cities, is the birthplace of the ancient Maritime Silk Road and enjoys a rich history of openness and exchange. Promoting cultural and commercial ties, Guangzhou enjoys 37 sister-cities and 33 friendly cities. Promoting cultural and commercial ties, Guangzhou enjoys 37 sister-cities and 33 friendly cities. Guangzhou, one of China’s key national cities, is the birthplace of the ancient Maritime Silk Road and enjoys a rich history of openness and exchange. As the capital of Guangdong province, Guangzhou sits at the lower reaches of the Pearl River in the province's south-central region. The sprawling metropolis spans an area of 7,434 square kilometers and serves as the political and cultural center of Guangdong. North of both the Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions, Guangzhou's location in the Pearl River Delta has long secured the city's position as the leading entry and exit shipping port of Chinese mainland, earning the city the title of China's "Southern Gateway".
With a population of approximately 14 million, the city's immensely developed infrastructure has made Guangzhou an important travel hub in the mainland. Its three railway systems offer high-speed rail services capable of reaching all major cities across the whole of China in one day or less. As one of the most developed industrial centers in China, Guangzhou is a mass distribution hub for both foreign and domestic goods. In 2018, more than 480,000 planes landed at or departed from Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport which hosted 70 million passengers and processed 1.9 million tons of mail goods. At the same time, the Guangzhou Port handled 570 million tons of cargo and 20 million TEUs.In 2018, Guangzhou's GDP reached 2.3 trillion yuan ($343 billion), an increase of 6.2 percent over 2017. By the end of the year, 301 Fortune Global 500 companies had launched 1,017 projects in Guangzhou.