Shantou (shän-tō) [key] or Swatow swäˈtouˈ, city (1994 est. pop. 718,800), SE Guangdong prov., China, a port on the South China Sea, in the Han River delta. When it was opened to foreign trade after the second Opium War, it was a minor fishing village. It became a special economic zone in 1979, which brought new foreign investment and trade to the city. The city has a mix of light and heavy industries, which includes shipbuilding and food processing. Fishing is also important.