The city of Dongguan is located about 60 kilometers east-southeast of the capital city, Guangzhou, Guangdong Province, which places the city on the eastern side of the Pearl River, along with the cities of Shenzhen and Guangzhou, while the city of Zhongshan, across the Pearl River Estuary from the city of Shenzhen, lies on the western side of the Pearl River. In fact, the cities of Dongguan, Zhongshan and Shenzhen form an almost perfect triangle, with Dongguan at its apex, albeit, displaced slightly eastward of the apex of the perfect traingle formed by these three cities.
Dongguan comprises some 2500 square kilometers (250,000 hectares, or 617,800 acres) distributed over mountainous terrain and low-lying delta, or alluvial plains. Most of the area within Greater Dongguan is highly built up, though the lower-lying areas are reserved either for agriculture (ordinary farming) and aquaculture (fish farming, including the "farming" of non-fish seafood and aquatic plants). The land mass on which the city of Dongguan rests slopes, not suprisingly, from east to west, thus channeling streams and run-off into the Pearl River/ the Pearl River Estuary.
Hills and mesas (so-called tablelands, an expression derived from their appearance, i.e., an elevated block of land with sheer sides, or cliffs) characterize the eastern part of the city, while the western part of the city, including its non-urban, western perimeter is in the form of a low-lying alluvial plain. Thanks to its location within the Pearl River Delta and the area's low latitude, which is synonymous with a long growing season, Dongguan is one of China's richest, high-yield traditional agriculture areas, abundant in rice paddies, bananas and litchi-nut (Litchi chinensis) trees (a kind of nut with fruit inside), as well as both salt- and freshwater "seafood" products (i.e., aquacultural products).
Besides its contribution to the country's aqua- and agriculture, the city of Dongguan boasts a highly developed high-tech industrial sector specializing in the manufacture of computers and other IT-related products, a sector that is in rapid expansion in the city of Dongguan.
With its relative importance as both an agricultural and a manufacturing base, Dongguan, not surprisingly, also has a well-developed road- and waterway infrastructure. Regarding the highway network, Dongguan is connected to Guangzhou to the north and to Shenzhen to the south by National highway G107. In addition, the city is served by an extensive network of other routes, some regional and others more local, including 4 regional highways designed expressly for heavy truck traffic.
As even a cursory look at a map of the Pearl River Estuary will reveal, Dongguan is rich in waterways. These waterways connect to 11 ports in the Greater Dongguan area, two of which are major shipping ports. The city also has a well-developed railway network, and is served by Guangzhou International Airport (CAN), only about an hour's drive from Dongguan. Hong Kong itself lies only about an hour and fifteen minutes' drive south-southeast of Dongguan.
The city of Dongguan has been transformed over the past three decades from a rural and fishing-village setting into a major metropolis replete with glass-steel-&-concrete skyscrapers, modern apartment blocks, shopping malls, and of course all of the other "accoutrements" that one expects of a large, modern metropolis such as world class Hotels, cinemas, libraries, museums (including a museum devoted to the Opium Wars) and lush green parks. Dongguan boasts the world's largest shopping mall, South China Mall. Some of the major international retailers that one finds here include America's Wal-Mart, France's Carrefour, Japan's Jusco and Hong Kong's own Parka.
The city of Dongguan is hometown to more than 200,000 Chinese people spread over the four corners of the earth, many of them successful businessmen. Like most other rapidly expanding coastal cities of southern China, Dongguan is also home to a large expat community, including some 700,000 Hongkong and Macao "expats".
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