Prefecture-level city
From top left, clockwise: Guanyin mountain, Humen Bridge, Keyuan, Dongguan Avenue

Location of Dongguan in Guangdong
Location in China
Coordinates: 23°2′N 113°43′E / 23.033°N 113.717°E / 23.033; 113.717Coordinates: 23°2′N 113°43′E / 23.033°N 113.717°E / 23.033; 113.717
Country People's Republic of China
Province Guangdong
County 331 AD
City (County-level) September 1985
City (Prefecture-level) 1 January 1988
  CPC Committee Secretary Liang Weidong (梁维东)
  Mayor Liang Weidong (梁维东)
  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)
  Total ¥ 627.506 billion (2015)
  Per capita ¥ 75213 (2015)
Time zone China Standard Time (UTC+8)
Postal code 523000
Area code(s) 769
ISO 3166 code CN-GD-19
Licence plate prefixes 粤S
City flower Yulan magnolia
Magnolia denudata
"Dongguan" in Simplified (top) and Traditional (bottom) Chinese characters
Simplified Chinese 东莞
Traditional Chinese 東莞
Hanyu Pinyin Dōngguǎn
Cantonese Yale Dùnggún or Dūnggún
Postal Tungkun
Literal meaning "Eastern Bulrush(es)"

Dongguan is a prefecture-level city in central Guangdong Province of South China. An important industrial city 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 square kilometres (6,785 sq mi).[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. It is also home to one of the world's largest, though largely empty, shopping malls, the New South China Mall.[2] Although the city is geographically and thus culturally Cantonese in the Weitou form and as well as culturally Hakka in the prefectures of Fenggang and Qingxi, the majority of the modern-day population speaks Mandarin due to the large influx of economic migrants from other parts of China.


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.[3]

Being a district of the Huiyang prefecture before, as its economy overshadowed the prefectural capital of Huizhou itself, Dongguan earned city status in 1985, and was upgraded to prefecture city status three years later.[4] During this period the city changed its focus from an agricultural town into a manufacturing hub, with an average annual growth of up to 18%.[5]

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.


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 22.7 °C (72.9 °F) throughout the year with average rainfall of 1,787 millimetres (70.4 in).[6]


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 8.26 million by 2016, with a density of 5,100 per km².[9]

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


Dongguan is a prefecture-level city of the Guangdong province. An uncommon administrative feature is that it has no county-level division, but the municipal government does group the 32 township-level divisions into 6 district areas. The city government directly administers 4 Subdistricts and 28 towns:

Name Simplified Chinese Hanyu Pinyin Population
(2010 census)
Division code[10] Residential communities Administrative villages
Chengqu District城区片区Chéngqū Piànqū1,653,407299.05529.784 subdistricts, 2 towns
Dongcheng Subdistrict东城街道Dōngchéng Jiēdào492,875110.04,480.68 441900003 23
Nancheng Subdistrict南城街道Nánchéng Jiēdào289,25559.04,902.62 441900004 18
Wanjiang Subdistrict万江街道Wànjiāng Jiēdào244,76550.54,846.83 441900005 28
Guancheng Subdistrict莞城街道Guǎnchéng Jiēdào162,11613.512,008.59 441900006 8
Shijie town石碣镇Shíjié Zhèn246,96036.06,860.00 441900101 114
Gaobu town高埗镇Gāobù Zhèn217,43630.07,247.86 441900129 118
Songshanhu District松山湖片区Sōngshānhú Piànqū1,467,455433.83382.796 towns
Shilong town石龙镇Shílóng Zhèn141,85011.312,553.09 441900102 37
Chashan town茶山镇Cháshān Zhèn156,52251.03,069.05 441900103 216
Shipai town石排镇Shípái Zhèn160,20256.02,860.75 441900104 118
Liaobu town寮步镇Liáobù Zhèn418,57887.54783.74 441900111 1020
Dalang town大朗镇Dàlǎng Zhèn310,889118.02,634.65 441900113 1216
Dalingshan town大岭山镇Dàlǐngshān Zhèn279,414110.02,540.12 441900118 321
Dongbu District东部片区Dōngbù Piànqū1,349,280493.52734.107 towns
Qishi town企石镇Qǐshí Zhèn121,69351.02,386.13 441900105 119
Hengli town横沥镇Hénglì Zhèn204,83050.04,096.60 441900106 116
Qiaotou town桥头镇Qiáotóu Zhèn166,77456.02,978.10 441900107 611
Xiegang town谢岗镇Xiègǎng Zhèn99,387103.0964.92 441900108 111
Dongkeng town东坑镇Dōngkēng Zhèn138,81927.55,047.96 441900109 214
Changping town常平镇Chángpíng Zhèn386,378108.03,577.57 441900110 231
Huangjiang town黄江镇Huángjiāng Zhèn231,39998.02,361.21 441900114 7
Dongnan District东南片区 Dōngnán Piànqū1,246,493472.32639.194 towns
Zhangmutou town樟木头镇Zhāngmùtou Zhèn132,816118.81,117.97 441900112 10
Qingxi town清溪镇Qīngxī Zhèn312,639143.02,186.28 441900115 120
Tangxia town塘厦镇Tángxià Zhèn482,067128.03,766.14 441900116 23
Fenggang town凤岗镇Fènggǎng Zhèn318,97182.53,866.31 441900117 111
Binhai District滨海片区Bīnhǎi Piànqū1,918,652509.33767.234 towns
Chang'an town长安镇Cháng'ān Zhèn664,23097.86,791.71 441900119 13
Humen town虎门镇Hǔmén Zhèn638,657178.53,577.91 441900121 31
Houjie town厚街镇Hòujiē Zhèn438,283126.03,478.43 441900122 24
Shatian town沙田镇Shātián Zhèn177,482107.01,658.71 441900123 216
Shuixiang District水乡片区Shuǐxiāng Piànqū543,632261.52078.895 towns
Daojiao town道滘镇Dàojiào Zhèn143,10763.02,271.53 441900124 113
Hongmei town洪梅镇Hóngméi Zhèn58,11433.01,761.03 441900125 19
Machong town麻涌镇Máchǒng Zhèn118,06274.01,595.43 441900126 213
Wangniudun town望牛墩镇Wàngniúdūn Zhèn84,78631.52,685.65 441900127 121
Zhongtang town中堂镇Zhōngtáng Zhèn139,56360.02,326.05 441900128 515
Special Jurisdictions 441900400 3
Administrative divisions of Dongguan
Division code[10] English name Chinese Pinyin Area in km2 Population 2010[11] Seat Postal code Divisions[12]
Subdistricts Towns Residential communities Administrative villages
441900Dongguan City 东莞市 Dōngguǎn Shì2,465.008,220,207City-administered District523000428248350
441900City-administered District 市辖区Shìxiáqū2,465.008,220,207Nancheng Subdistrictzh-hans|523000428248350


Dongguan is served by Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport, Shenzhen Bao’an International Airport, but primarily by Hong Kong International Airport; ticketed passengers can take ferries from the Humen Ferry Terminal in Humen to the HKIA Skypier.[13] There are also coach bus services connecting Dongguan with HKIA.[14]

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 Railway 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 was delayed and opened in May 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.[15]


Dongguan is a major manufacturing hub, although it suffered significant loss of economic activity from the impact of the 2008 financial crisis.[16][17] 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.[18]

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 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 investors were Brazilian shoe manufacturers. Brazil excelled in manufacturing cheap footwear in the 1970s and 80s. The Brazilian community in Dongguan numbered 4,000 people in 2013.[19][20]

While the city is the fourth largest export region in China, behind Shanghai, Shenzhen, and Suzhou, Dongguan has yet to gain the kind of name recognition realized by Shenzhen outside of China. This may be because the city has focused on infrastructure investment rather than the direct 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 announced a plan to create and support a 100-billion-yuan photovoltaic manufacturing industry by 2015.[21]

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 its capability for independent innovation and the quantity of patent applications in 2008.[22][23]

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.[24]

On 9 February 2014, China Central Television aired a special on the sex industry in Dongguan. The same day Guangdong Provincial Police raided and closed all saunas, bars, foot massages, karaokes, 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 crackdown affected the livelihood of taxi drivers and restaurants who, while not directly involved in the sex industry, benefited from the increased clientele.[25]

Sports and culture

Dongguan is dubbed as a "National Basketball City" and is the only prefecture-level city with three 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.

The 16,000 seat Dongguan Basketball Center will be one of the venues for the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup.[26] The venue has already hosted the 2015 Sudirman Cup badminton tournament.[27]

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.[28]

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.[29]

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[30] 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.[31][32][33]

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.[34]


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.

The Dongguan University of Technology is located in Dongguan.


Donguan is host to the following annual festivals:[35]

  • 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. 1 2 "China: Administrative Division of Guăngdōng / 广东省". Retrieved 25 May 2015.
  2. Utopia, Part 3: The World’s Largest Shopping Mall, August 18, 2009, Retrieved February 9, 2010
  3. Dongguan - History, Dongguan Government
  4. Ezra F. Vogel (October 1990). One Step Ahead in China: Guangdong Under Reform. Harvard University Press. pp. 225–. ISBN 978-0-674-63911-9.
  5. "Huizhou City, Dongguan City- China - Guangdong". Retrieved 25 May 2015.
  6. "Weather data of Dongguan". Weather China (中国天气网).
  8. "Donguan's population approaches 8.22 million". Dongguan Today. 27 May 2011. Archived from the original on 31 December 2013.
  9. "Table 1 Largest Built-up Urban Areas in the World: 2016" (PDF). Demographia. Wendell Cox. 2016. Retrieved 4 January 2018.
  10. 1 2 中华人民共和国县以上行政区划代码 (in Chinese). Ministry of Civil Affairs.
  11. shi, Guo wu yuan ren kou pu cha ban gong; council, Guo jia tong ji ju ren kou he jiu ye tong ji si bian = Tabulation on the 2010 population census of the people's republic of China by township / compiled by Population census office under the state; population, Department of; statistics, employment statistics national bureau of (2012). Zhongguo 2010 nian ren kou pu cha fen xiang, zhen, jie dao zi liao (Di 1 ban. ed.). Beijing Shi: Zhongguo tong ji chu ban she. ISBN 978-7-5037-6660-2.
  12. Ministry of Civil Affairs (August 2014). 《中国民政统计年鉴2014》 (in Chinese). China Statistics Press. ISBN 978-7-5037-7130-9.
  13. "Ferry Transfer." Hong Kong International Airport. Retrieved on May 8, 2018.
  14. "Mainland Coaches." Hong Kong International Airport. Retrieved on May 8, 2018.
  15. Dongguan Railway Line R2, Dongguantoday
  16. "Dongguan 'remains processing trade hub'". People's Daily Online. 22 May 2013. Retrieved 29 October 2013.
  17. He Huifeng (12 October 2013). "Dongguan is city in search of reason to exist". South China Morning Post. Retrieved 29 October 2013.
  18. "Manufacturing Base'". DongGuan Government. Retrieved 29 October 2013.
  19. Brasileiros vão à China em busca de emprego, Folha de S.Paulo (in Portuguese)
  20. Custo tira calçadistas brasileiros da China, Folha de S.Paulo (in Portuguese)
  21. "China Market Pulse". The China Perspective. 2011-01-12.
  22. "Change with innovation for Dongguan city". Dongguan daily digital newspaper. 2008-07-22.
  23. "Chinese premier pays a visit". NextInsight. 2008-07-22.
  25. "Prostitution clampdown on Dongguan may knock 50 billion yuan off its economy". South China Morning Post. 12 February 2014. Retrieved 25 May 2015.
  26. The Official website of the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup,, Retrieved 9 March 2016.
  27. "Badminton: Jakarta to stage 2015 BWF Worlds; Dongguan to host Sudirman Cup". SportAsia. Retrieved 29 April 2016.
  29. Chang, Leslie T., Factory Girls: From Village to City In A Changing China, New York: Random House (2008), ISBN 978-0-385-52017-1
  30. The Dehumanization of Young Workers Producing Our Computer Keyboards, New York: The National Labor Committee (Feb 2009, pp 63)
  31. "Crackdown fails to scare Dongguan's sex-trade veterans". South China Morning Post. Retrieved 25 May 2015.
  32. Party chief vows to crack down but excessive measures will be avoided, SCMP, 26 Nov 2009
  33. Dzodin, Harvey. "Dongguan's poor reputation hides a city of two tales". Global Times. Global Times. Retrieved 19 November 2013.
  34. 103817. "东莞6525名警力查涉黄场所 涉事派出所长全停职". Retrieved 25 May 2015.
Economic data
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