Guangzhou City Review


About This Report

Mar 2017

Equivalent in population to Los Angeles (13 million in 2016), Guangzhou is fourth largest Chinese metropolis by population, located in the centre of the largest global urban agglomeration (Pearl River Delta). Guangzhou has become more service-focused recently as services' share of GVA rose by six percentage points in 2011-2016. Guangzhou shows strong labour productivity growth (expanding 48% at constant 2016 prices over 2011-2016) - the highest among China's metropolises.

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Guangzhou City Review


GVA per employee (a measure of labour productivity) in Guangzhou was 148% above the average in China and the highest among China's metropolises in 2016. The degree level education achieved by 24% of those aged 15+ in Guangzhou explains part of the strong productivity as it was twice the Chinese average in 2016.

High labour productivity only partly translates into higher per household disposable income

The city's elevated labour productivity only partly translates into higher per household disposable incomes, which exceeded the average for the rest of China by 58% in 2016. This is partly due to Guangzhou's lower labour force participation rate (75% versus 81% in China in 2016) and smaller average household size (2.4 versus 3.0 persons) compared with elsewhere in China.

Smaller share of budget spent on food and non-alcoholic beverages

Consumer spending per household (excluding transport and housing) in the city was 72% higher than in China in 2016. Thanks to their higher incomes, households in Guangzhou allocate a smaller share of their budgets to food and non-alcoholic beverages (21% in Guangzhou versus 25% in China in 2016), which leaves them with slightly larger shares to spend on discretionary goods and services such as hotels and restaurants (5.0% versus 3.8%) and recreation and culture (3.8% versus 3.2%).

Greater combined spending on housing and transport

The combined per household expenditure on housing and transport in Guangzhou was 75% above the level elsewhere in the country in 2016. Transport is proportionally slightly more expensive in Guangzhou (91% more expensive in value terms) absorbing 8.4% of households' budgets, versus 7.6% in China. The budget share allocated to housing is again pretty similar (17%), although the households in Guangzhou spend 67% more money on housing.


Understanding Guangzhou Review structure
Chart 1 Overview
Key facts on Guangzhou
Summary 1 Key Facts On Guangzhou 2011, 2016, 2021


Delimitation of the metropolitan region
Chart 2 Map Of Guangzhou Metropolitan Area
Main business districts


Industrial make-up
Chart 3 Industrial Composition Of Guangzhou 2016
Chart 4 Labour Productivity: Selected Cities 2016
Recent developments and outlook
Chart 5 Dynamics Of Real GDP In Guangzhou, China And Other Cities In Asia, 2011-2021
Summary 2 Labour Market Changes In Guangzhou 2011, 2016


City demographics
Chart 6 Population By Age 2016
Chart 7 Drivers Of Population Growth In Guangzhou 2011-2016
Household income
Chart 8 Household Distribution By Income In Guangzhou 2016 And 2021


Structure of household budget
Chart 9 Comparison Of Household Expenditure In Guangzhou And China, 2016
Summary 3 Guangzhou Household Budget Structure By Consumer Expenditure Item, % of total, 2011, 2016, 2021
City lifestyle
Slow Growth In Tourism
Motorcycle Ban Leads To Rising Motorisation Rate
City affordability
Chart 10 Household Expenditure On Housing: Selected Cities 2016
Chart 11 Household Expenditure On Transport: Selected Cities 2016



Summary 4 GDP Development, 2011, 2016, 2021
Summary 5 GDP By Origin, Current Prices, US$, Million, 2011-2016
Summary 6 Population And Labour Force, 2011-2016
Summary 7 Employed Population By Economic Sector, % of total, 2011-2016
Summary 8 Population By Sex And Broad Age Groups, ‘000, 2011-2016
Summary 9 Population Growth, 2011-2016
Summary 10 Forecast Population Growth
Summary 11 Population By Educational Attainment, 2011-2016
Summary 12 Structure Of Consumer Expenditure By Main Category, 2011-2016
Summary 13 Consumer Expenditure By Main Category, Per Household, Constant (2016) Prices, US$, 2011, 2016, 2021
Summary 14 Households By Income Band, % Of Total, Constant (2016) Prices 2011, 2016, 2021
Summary 15 Households By Income Band, ‘000, Current Prices 2011-2016
Summary 16 Inflation, 2011-2016
Summary 17 Transport Indicators, 2011-2016
Summary 18 Air Pollution, Concentration In Micrograms Per Cubic Metre, 2011-2016
Summary 19 Possession of Consumer Durables, % of Households, 2011, 2016, 2021