Guangzhou, known historically as Canton or Kwangchow, is the capital and largest city of the Guangdong province, People's Republic of China. Located on the Pearl River, about 120 km (75 mi) north-northwest of Hong Kong, Guangzhou is a key national transportation hub and trading port. One of the five National Central Cities, it holds sub-provincial administrative status.
Guangzhou is the third largest Chinese city and southern China's largest city. As of the 2010 census, the city had a population of 12.78 million. Some estimates place the population of the entire Pearl River Delta Mega City built up area as high as 40 million including Shenzhen (10.36 million), Dongguan (8.22 million) and most parts of Foshan (7.19 million), Jiangmen (4.45 million), Zhongshan (3.12 million) and a small part of Huizhou adjoining Dongguan and Shenzhen, with an area of about 20,000 square kilometres (7,700 sq mi) (about the same size as Slovenia). In 2008 Guangzhou was identified as a Beta World City by the global city index produced by GaWC.
Greater Guangzhou was recently named as one of the 13 emerging megacities or megalopolises in China in a July 2012 report by the Economist Intelligence Unit; Supersized cities: China’s 13 megalopolises. The report pinpoints and highlights the demographic and income trends that are shaping these cities' development