GUANGDONG PROVINCE NOW has a GDP of the same size or larger than Australia or Canada–and its growth story has only just begun.
China’s workshop region in the south of the country filed Gross Domestic Product figures on Thursday of 12.4 trillion yuan (US$1.95 trillion) for 2021.
Different charts put the top-performing places in different ranked order, but it is clear that fast-growing Guangdong is now in the same general ballpark as the countries mentioned above, plus Spain, Italy, and Russia, all of which tend to file GDP figures in the region of US$1.5 trillion to US$2 trillion.
(GDP is the value of all the goods and services a group of people create, minus the cost of production, and is used as global indicator of financial health and a society’s level of development. )
But Guangdong, which was largely farmland just a few decades ago, still faces numerous problems.
“The problem of uncoordinated regional development still needs to be solved,” said Guangdong Governor Wang Weizhong. “The gap between urban and rural development is still large, and there is a long way to go to promote common prosperity.”
Yet while many areas are still in need of development, the province contains Shenzhen, the world’s fastest growing city, which blossomed from a fishing village to a place bigger than Hong Kong, in just 40 years.
“If the provincial economy were a country, it would rank in the top ten globally, according to official data,” said the South China Morning Post.
For decades, critics have said that growth figures for southern China were falsified, but the argument has fallen away in recent years as visitors step into the and see its astonishing level of development. Shenzhen is the global capital of drones, smartphones and other products, and has a world class stock market of a similar size to London.
Guangdong also leads the world in digital payments. The region is going to a global trendsetter for sure.