Among the largest cities in the country, Guangzhou is the transportation, industrial, financial, and trade center of S China. It is a special economic development zone and an important trading point with Hong Kong. It has an integrated steel complex, paper mills, a long-established textile industry (silk, cotton, jute, and more recently synthetic fibers), and factories producing tractors, machinery, machine tools, newsprint, refined sugar, small appliances, tires, bicycles, sports equipment, porcelain, cement, and chemicals.
Traditional arts and crafts, principally ivory and jade carvings, are still produced. The hub of water transportation along the Pearl River, it is the southern terminus of the Guangzhou-Wuhan RR. It has a large international airport and is linked with Hong Kong by the Guangzhou-Jiulong RR. Highways completed in the 1990s connect it with cities on the coast. Guangzhou is one of the marketplaces for China's world trade; great national trade expositions, held there every spring and fall (since 1957), attract thousands of business people from all over the world.