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Prefecture-level city
From top left, clockwise: Guanyin mountain, Humen Bridge, Keyuan, Dongguan Avenue
From top left, clockwise: Guanyin mountain, Humen Bridge, Keyuan, Dongguan Avenue
Location of Dongguan in Guangdong
Location of Dongguan in Guangdong
Dongguan is located in China
Location in China
Country China
Province Guangdong
County 331 AD
City (County-level) September 1985
City (Prefecture-level) January 1, 1988
 • CPC Committee Secretary Xu Jianhua (徐建华)
 • Mayor Yuan Baocheng (袁宝成)
 • Prefecture-level city 2,465 km2 (952 sq mi)
 • Urban 2,465 km2 (952 sq mi)
 • Metro 17,572.9 km2 (6,784.9 sq mi)
Elevation 8 m (26 ft)
Population (2010 census[1])
 • Prefecture-level city 8,220,207
 • Density 3,300/km2 (8,600/sq mi)
 • Urban 8,220,207
 • Urban density 3,300/km2 (8,600/sq mi)
 • Metro 44,449,738
 • Metro density 2,500/km2 (6,600/sq mi)
 • HK & MAC compatriots 1 million
Time zone China Standard Time (UTC+8)
Postal code 523000
Area code(s) 769
Licence plate prefixes 粤S
- Total ¥ 501.014 billion (2012)
- Per capita ¥ 60,694 (2012)
City flower Yulan magnolia
Magnolia denudata
Traditional Chinese 東莞
Simplified Chinese 东莞
Literal meaning "Eastern softstem bulrushes"

Dongguan (Chinese: 东莞) is a prefecture-level city in central Guangdong province, China.

An important industrial city located in the Pearl River Delta, Dongguan borders the provincial capital of Guangzhou to the north, Huizhou to the northeast, Shenzhen to the south, and the Pearl River to the west. It is part of the Pearl River Delta megacity with more than 44.78 million inhabitants at the 2010 census spread over nine municipalities (including Macao) across an area of 17,573 km2.[1] Dongguan's city administration is considered especially progressive in seeking foreign direct investment. Dongguan ranks behind only Shenzhen, Shanghai and Suzhou in exports among Chinese cities, with $65.54 billion in shipments.

In addition to being an important manufacturing hub, the city has also earned a reputation as the "sex capital of China".[2][3] It is also home to one of the world's largest, though largely empty, shopping mall, New South China Mall.[4]


  • History 1
  • Geography 2
  • Demographics 3
  • Administration 4
  • Climate 5
  • Transport 6
  • Economy 7
  • Sports and culture 8
  • Social issues 9
  • Education 10
  • Festivals 11
  • See also 12
  • References 13
  • External links 14


Although the earliest traces of human habitation in the area stretch back 5,000 years, Dongguan's emergence as a true city is a recent phenomenon.

In 1839, at the outset of the First Opium War, large quantities of seized opium were destroyed in Humen, a town that now belongs to Dongguan. Several of the major battles of the war were fought in this area.

During the Second World War, the city served as the base for guerrilla resistance against the Japanese occupation.[5]

Dongguan earned city status in 1985, and was upgraded to prefecture city status three years later. During the period the city changed its focus from an agricultural town into a manufacturing hub, with an average annual growth of up to 18%.[6]

The city ranked 13th in Forbes China's listing of the most innovative mainland cities, as well as 18th in Foreign Policy's listing of the most dynamic cities in the world.


Geographically, the city is mostly hilly to the east and flat in the west, with 115.98 kilometres (72.07 mi) of shoreline. The urban centre of Dongguan is 50 kilometres (31 mi) from that of Guangzhou to its north, 90 kilometres (56 mi) from Shenzhen to its south, 47 nautical miles (87 km) from Hong Kong and 48 nautical miles (89 km) from Macau by waterway. It is positioned in the middle of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen economic corridor, a hub for both land and sea transport.

Of Dongguan's total area, 27% is water, 25% forest land, and 13% arable land, while 35% of its land area has been fully developed.

Guan Yin Shan (Kuan Yin Mountain) in Dongguan, China


Dongguan had an estimated 6,949,800 inhabitants at the end of 2008, among whom 1,748,700 were local residents and 5,201,100 permanent migrants from other parts of the country.[7] At the 2010 Census the population had expanded to 8,220,237.[8] The number reached 8.29 million by the end of 2012, with average population age of 30.82.

Dongguan is also a known hometown for many overseas Chinese, the family origin of over 700,000 people in Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macau and over 200,000 nationals living abroad.


Dongguan has no intermediate county level but instead is divided into 32 towns each of which possesses its own distinct characteristics:

Map Name Simplified Chinese Hanyu Pinyin Population
(2010 census)
Guancheng Subdistrict 莞城街道 Guǎnchéng Jiēdào 162,116 13.5 12,008.59
Dongcheng Subdistrict 东城街道 Dōngchéng Jiēdào 492,875 110.0 4,480.68
Nancheng Subdistrict 南城街道 Nánchéng Jiēdào 289,255 59.0 4,902.62
Wanjiang Subdistrict 万江街道 Wànjiāng Jiēdào 244,765 50.5 4,846.83
Shilong Town 石龙镇 Shílóng Zhèn 141,850 11.3 12,553.09
Gaobu Town 高埗镇 Gāobù Zhèn 217,436 30.0 7,247.86
Zhongtang Town 中堂镇 Zhōngtáng Zhèn 139,563 60.0 2,326.05
Machong Town 麻涌镇 Máchǒng Zhèn 118,062 74.0 1,595.43
Wangniudun Town 望牛墩镇 Wàngniúdūn Zhèn 84,786 31.5 2,685.65
Hongmei Town 洪梅镇 Hóngméi Zhèn 58,114 33.0 1,761.03
Shijie Town 石碣镇 Shíjié Zhèn 246,960 36.0 6,860.00
Daojiao Town 道滘镇 Dàojiào Zhèn 143,107 63.0 2,271.53
Shatian Town 沙田镇 Shātián Zhèn 177,482 107.0 1,658.71
Houjie Town 厚街镇 Hòujiē Zhèn 438,283 126.0 3,478.43
Humen Town 虎门镇 Hǔmén Zhèn 638,657 178.5 3,577.91
Chang'an Town 长安镇 Cháng'ān Zhèn 664,230 97.8 6,791.71
Dalingshan Town 大岭山镇 Dàlǐngshān Zhèn 279,414 110.0 2,540.12
Dalang Town 大朗镇 Dàlǎng Zhèn 310,889 118.0 2,634.65
Huangjiang Town 黄江镇 Huángjiāng Zhèn 231,399 98.0 2,361.21
Liaobu Town 寮步镇 Liáobù Zhèn 418,578 87.5 4783.74
Fenggang Town 凤岗镇 Fènggǎng Zhèn 318,971 82.5 3,866.31
Tangxia Town 塘厦镇 Tángxià Zhèn 482,067 128.0 3,766.14
Qingxi Town 清溪镇 Qīngxī Zhèn 312,639 143.0 2,186.28
Zhangmutou Town 樟木头镇 Zhāngmùtou Zhèn 132,816 118.8 1,117.97
Xiegang Town 谢岗镇 Xiègǎng Zhèn 99,387 103.0 964.92
Changping Town 常平镇 Chángpíng Zhèn 386,378 108.0 3,577.57
Qiaotou Town 桥头镇 Qiáotóu Zhèn 166,774 56.0 2,978.10
Qishi Town 企石镇 Qǐshí Zhèn 121,693 51.0 2,386.13
Hengli Town 横沥镇 Hénglì Zhèn 204,830 50.0 4,096.60
Dongkeng Town 东坑镇 Dōngkēng Zhèn 138,819 27.5 5,047.96
Chashan Town 茶山镇 Cháshān Zhèn 156,522 51.0 3,069.05
Shipai Town 石排镇 Shípái Zhèn 160,202 56.0 2,860.75


Dongguan has a humid subtropical climate, with abundant sunshine and rainfall over the year. It lies just south of the Tropic of Cancer. The average temperature is 23.3 °C (73.9 °F) throughout the year with average rainfall of 2,042.6 millimetres (80.42 in).[9]


Many foreign travellers to Dongguan fly into Hong Kong, which gives visa on arrival to citizens of over 170 countries. After landing, visitors must apply for a visa to enter mainland China.

One can travel from Hong Kong to Dongguan by bus, ferry, or train. Passengers travelling overland must disembark from their transport at the Hong Kong/China border to go through customs and immigration, except for those traveling on the Mass Transit Railway intercity services (former Kowloon-Canton Railway) from Hung Hom Station to Dongguan, Guangzhou and beyond.

Dongguan serves as one of the regional railway hubs in Guangdong, where the Guangzhou-Kowloon Railway, Guangzhou-Meizhou-Shantou Railway and the Beijing-Kowloon converge.

Rail services in and out of the city call at Dongguan railway station where there are direct train services to Guangzhou East railway station in Guangzhou; and Hung Hom Railway station in Hong Kong.

The Humen Pearl River Bridge is a suspension bridge over the Pearl River. Completed in 1997, it has a main span of 888 metres (2,913 ft). Construction work on the Second Humen Pearl River Bridge will start in early 2014.

Among the four metro lines (R1-R4) planned for the Dongguan Rail Transit, R2 line is presently under construction and was scheduled to open for operations in early 2015. This has now been delayed until early 2016. The R2 Line will link towns in Western Dongguan, thereby promoting the connection of the entire downtown area with Houjie, Humen and Chang’an. It will also support Dongguan's regional transportation with other cities such as Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Hong Kong by joining with the rail transit junctions of the Pearl River Delta.[10]


Dongguan is a major manufacturing hub, although it suffered significant loss of economic activity from the impact of the 2008 financial crisis.[11][12] The largest industrial sector is manufacturing of electronics and communications equipment; international companies with facilities in Dongguan include DuPont, Samsung Electronics, Nokia, Coca-Cola, Nestlé and Maersk.[13]

The Dongguan Science and Technology Museum (opened in December 2005), the high tech commerce park in the Songshan Lake district (opened in 2003) and a partnership with the Global IT Academy of the Brea Olinda Unified School District in Southern California have demonstrated the city's emphasis on attracting technology business. The city also announced in 2005 a planned investment of US$500 million over five years for technology infrastructure improvements. The city administration is considered especially progressive in seeking foreign direct investment. Among the investments were bringing Brazilian shoemaking industrials as their country had excelled in manufacturing cheap footwear in the 1970s and 80s. The community, which accounted for 1.753 million people in 2013, was at a certain point the largest of Brazilians in China with 4,000 people.[14][15]

While the city is the third largest export region in China, behind Shanghai and Shenzhen (and a major centre for Taiwanese investment), outside of China, Dongguan has yet to gain the kind of name recognition realized by Shenzhen. This may be because the city has focused on infrastructure investment rather than the directly targeting of major corporations with financial incentives for economic development. Nevertheless, Dongguan has been identified by high level representatives of the National Development and Reform Commission of the central government as one of the most significant growth regions for technology in the coming years. As part of this plan the Dongguan local government has announced a plan to create and support a 100-billion-yuan photovoltaic manufacturing industry by 2015.[16]

To cope with the impact of the financial crisis, Dongguan city is looking to industrial restructuring, focusing on four pillar platforms - governmental services, supporting measures, technology upgrade and market expansion. The city government claims that this process has already enhanced the city’s capability for independent innovation and the quantity of patent applications in 2008.[17][18]

In Dongguan, manufacturing is prosperous and with a strong tertiary industry and had a total GDP of 501 billion RMB with the scale proportion of the three major industrial sectors standing at 0.4:46.9:52.7 in 2012.[19]

On Feb. 9, 2014 China Central Television aired a special on the sex industry in Dongguan. The same day Guangdong Provincial Police raided and closed all Sauna, Bars, Foot Massages, Karaoke's, and other businesses associated with the sex industry. The economic impact of this crackdown is believed to be 50 Billion Yuan, or just over $8 Billion US Dollars. The residual effects of the crack down have affected the livelihood of taxi drivers and restaurants who though were not directly involved in the sex industry but benefited from the sex industry providing clientele for them.[20]

Sports and culture

Dongguan is a “National Basketball City” and is the only prefecture-level city with 3 professional basketball clubs in China. The Guangdong Southern Tigers was the first professional basketball club in China, having won eight Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) championships in the past 10 years.

Dongguan Yulan Theater is one of China’s newest multipurpose performing arts venues. With its multi-layered exterior suggestive of an unfolding lotus petal, it has become a landmark in Dongguan city. The new cultural hub houses two theatres presenting a full schedule of performances, including Romeo and Juliet and the Chinese classic Butterfly Lovers. So far Dongguan has produced 7 original musicals by its own and made a roadshow of 60 performances in over 30 cities of China.[21]

Social issues

The city and province have been the recent focus of press and journalist attention with coverage of the many young Chinese workers, principally females (so-called factory girls), from agricultural areas who work in the area's factories and manufacturing/assembly facilities, where many are housed in large dormitories, usually several to a room.[22]

An article in the High Tech Misery in China series reports research conducted, over 2008 to 2009, on working conditions at one of the city's major keyboard makers (Dongguan Meitai Plastics & Electronics Factory); in it, Meitai factory won some unwanted attention, due to the poor conditions for its young, mostly female workers. The article[23] includes details of those conditions, photos, translations of employer's rules and evidence that well-known computer brands use this keyboard supplier's products.

Dongguan has as well a variety of types of brothels, massage parlours, nightclubs, sauna centres and karaoke bars, the city has more than 120 top-end luxury hotels and hundreds of other mid-range places that offer illegal sexual services or lease floors to sex operators, and many parts of the broader service sector benefit from the trade brought by visitors. Although much of the business is illegal, police operations to limit these activities were for a long time largely ineffective, in part because many members of the local administration and other officials have business interests in the sector.[24][25][26]

On 9 February 2014, CCTV aired a report about prostitution in Dongguan. In reaction, on the same day, Dongguan police launched a crackdown on brothels, massage parlours, nightclubs, sauna centres and karaoke bars, leading to some commentary that the city's days as China's sex capital were numbered.[27]


The city is home to 650 educational institutions: one general college, a TV University as well as technical and vocational schools, 550 primary schools and 480 kindergartens. The number of professional teachers, including those at kindergartens, totals 20,268. A comparatively integrated educational system has been set up including preschool, basic, vocational, higher and lifelong adult education. Senior high school education has developed since 1995.


Donguan is host to the following annual festivals:[28]

  • Dongguan Lingnan Arts Festival (January)
  • Dongkeng Workers Festival (Second day of the second lunar month)
  • Machong Guanyin Festival (Nineteenth day of the second lunar month)
  • Qingxi Flower Festival (April)
  • Tea Tea Garden Festival (April)
  • Qiaotou Lotus Art Festival (June)
  • Qishi Qiufeng Culture Festival (August)
  • Machong “Scent of Four Seasons” Cultural Art Festival (September)
  • Zhangmutou Hong Kong Tourism Festival (September)
  • Fenggang Hakka Art Festival (During the Lunar Mid-autumn Festival)
  • Xiegang Mountain Climbing Festival (Third week in September)
  • (Tangxia) Band Festival (October);
  • Shatian Water Culture Festival (October to November)
  • Hengli Niuxu Folk Festival (INovember)
  • Liaobu Tourism and Cultural Festival (December)

See also


  1. ^ a b
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ Utopia, Part 3: The World’s Largest Shopping Mall, August 18, 2009, Retrieved February 9, 2010
  5. ^ Dongguan - History, Dongguan Government
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^ [1]
  9. ^
  10. ^ Dongguan Railway Line R2, Dongguantoday
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^ Brasileiros vão à China em busca de emprego, Folha de S.Paulo (Portuguese)
  15. ^ Custo tira calçadistas brasileiros da China, Folha de S.Paulo (Portuguese)
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^ Chang, Leslie T., Factory Girls: From Village to City In A Changing China, New York: Random House (2008), ISBN 978-0-385-52017-1
  23. ^ The Dehumanization of Young Workers Producing Our Computer Keyboards, New York: The National Labor Committee (Feb 2009, pp 63)
  24. ^
  25. ^ Party chief vows to crack down but excessive measures will be avoided, SCMP, 26 Nov 2009
  26. ^
  27. ^
  28. ^ [2]
Economic data
  • Economic profile for Dongguan at HKTDC

External links

  • HERE! Dongguan - Your English Guide to a Bustling City
  • Dongguan Expats - Expatacular! - Global Expat Community
  • Hello! Dongguan A general introduction to the city of DG
  • Government funded website, giving a full range of information about Dongguan
  • Dongguan Live a.k.a. Don't Worry Be Happy A series of videos about something fun to do in DG
  • Dongguan Foreign Investment Promotion Bureau
  • Dongguan City Government
  • Dongguan Bureau of Foreign Trade & Economic Cooperation (Chinese) and (English)
  • IATT - International Association for Technology Trade
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