Photos: China’s Guangzhou keeps traditions alive during economic change

China’s southern city of Guangzhou, one of the country’s most important manufacturing hubs, retains a strong sense of traditional identity even during the present times of economic turmoil. The city’s downtown is dominated by skyscrapers, but neighbouring it are the cramped streets of Xiancun, one of the city’s ‘urban villages.’ Much of the traditional life remains in the city. Older citizens practise 'tai chi' and dance together for exercise and companionship in the public spaces. But Guangzhou's economic growth has started to slow, along with the rest of the country.

Updated On Oct 01, 2019 01:03 PM IST
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Men work in a market in Yuexiu, Guanghzou, China. One of the country’s most important manufacturing hubs, Guangzhou sprawls over 56,000 sq km with a population of more than 70 million. However, it has managed to retain its traditional values as it undergoes economic change. The city has a combined gross domestic product of about $1.5 trillion, roughly equivalent to that of Australia or South Korea. (Jorge Silva / REUTERS)
Updated on Oct 01, 2019 01:03 PM IST

Men work in a market in Yuexiu, Guanghzou, China. One of the country’s most important manufacturing hubs, Guangzhou sprawls over 56,000 sq km with a population of more than 70 million. However, it has managed to retain its traditional values as it undergoes economic change. The city has a combined gross domestic product of about $1.5 trillion, roughly equivalent to that of Australia or South Korea. (Jorge Silva / REUTERS)

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A man rides a hoverboard in the business district of Guanghzou. A city of 14 million, Guangzhou is no stranger to the disruption brought about by breakneck economic change. Once China’s only port open to foreign trade, Guangzhou prides itself on being a bastion of southern Chinese culture and thought. The city has thrived since China opened itself to the outside world in the late 1970s. (Jorge Silva / REUTERS)
Updated on Oct 01, 2019 01:03 PM IST

A man rides a hoverboard in the business district of Guanghzou. A city of 14 million, Guangzhou is no stranger to the disruption brought about by breakneck economic change. Once China’s only port open to foreign trade, Guangzhou prides itself on being a bastion of southern Chinese culture and thought. The city has thrived since China opened itself to the outside world in the late 1970s. (Jorge Silva / REUTERS)

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Newlywed couples pose for wedding pictures on top of the Canton Tower in the Haizhu district in Guangzhou. Wealth has transformed the city’s downtown, where skyscrapers dominate the skyline. The most prominent is the 604-metre tall Canton Tower, where newlyweds flock to shoot wedding photographs, as tourists look on. (Jorge Silva / REUTERS)
Updated on Oct 01, 2019 01:03 PM IST

Newlywed couples pose for wedding pictures on top of the Canton Tower in the Haizhu district in Guangzhou. Wealth has transformed the city’s downtown, where skyscrapers dominate the skyline. The most prominent is the 604-metre tall Canton Tower, where newlyweds flock to shoot wedding photographs, as tourists look on. (Jorge Silva / REUTERS)

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A woman holds an umbrella as she walks outside the Opera House in Guanghzou. The city is at the heart of plans to link a cluster of cities in the Pearl River Delta, including Hong Kong and Macau, into a Greater Bay Area rivalling Silicon Valley and Greater Tokyo as an economic hub by 2035. (Jorge Silva / REUTERS)
Updated on Oct 01, 2019 01:03 PM IST

A woman holds an umbrella as she walks outside the Opera House in Guanghzou. The city is at the heart of plans to link a cluster of cities in the Pearl River Delta, including Hong Kong and Macau, into a Greater Bay Area rivalling Silicon Valley and Greater Tokyo as an economic hub by 2035. (Jorge Silva / REUTERS)

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The area of Xiancun, which is in the process of redevelopment, is seen from a new apartment block in Guangzhou. It is one of the ‘urban villages’ that represent the disparities of modern China. While Xiancun’s cramped streets once offered affordable homes for migrants drawn to Guangzhou’s prosperity and opportunities, it is now being swept away by redevelopment. (Jorge Silva / REUTERS)
Updated on Oct 01, 2019 01:03 PM IST

The area of Xiancun, which is in the process of redevelopment, is seen from a new apartment block in Guangzhou. It is one of the ‘urban villages’ that represent the disparities of modern China. While Xiancun’s cramped streets once offered affordable homes for migrants drawn to Guangzhou’s prosperity and opportunities, it is now being swept away by redevelopment. (Jorge Silva / REUTERS)

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A woman dressed in traditional clothes stands in front of Sun Yat-sen Memorial hall in Xinji district in Guanghzou. Life on the city’s fringes can be hard, with house prices among China’s highest and poorer elderly residents forced to sort rubbish to earn a living. (Jorge Silva / REUTERS)
Updated on Oct 01, 2019 01:03 PM IST

A woman dressed in traditional clothes stands in front of Sun Yat-sen Memorial hall in Xinji district in Guanghzou. Life on the city’s fringes can be hard, with house prices among China’s highest and poorer elderly residents forced to sort rubbish to earn a living. (Jorge Silva / REUTERS)

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A woman pushes a bike in the city's old district of Liwan in Guanghzou. Life on the city’s fringes can be hard, with house prices among China’s highest and poorer elderly residents forced to sort rubbish to earn a living. (Jorge Silva / REUTERS)
Updated on Oct 01, 2019 01:03 PM IST

A woman pushes a bike in the city's old district of Liwan in Guanghzou. Life on the city’s fringes can be hard, with house prices among China’s highest and poorer elderly residents forced to sort rubbish to earn a living. (Jorge Silva / REUTERS)

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Women practise tai-chi in the early morning at a park in Liwan. Guangzhou’s economic growth has started to slow, along with the rest of the country. But much of the traditional life in the city remains. Older citizens practise ‘tai chi’ and dance together for exercise and companionship in the public spaces. (Jorge Silva / REUTERS)
Updated on Oct 01, 2019 01:03 PM IST

Women practise tai-chi in the early morning at a park in Liwan. Guangzhou’s economic growth has started to slow, along with the rest of the country. But much of the traditional life in the city remains. Older citizens practise ‘tai chi’ and dance together for exercise and companionship in the public spaces. (Jorge Silva / REUTERS)

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Men drink and chat outside of a shop in the traditional neighbourhood of Yuexiu in Guanghzou. By the evening, hawker stalls and small massage parlours light up dim alleys that come alive with chatter and beer drinking as friends try to beat the sultry summer heat. (Jorge Silva / REUTERS)
Updated on Oct 01, 2019 01:03 PM IST

Men drink and chat outside of a shop in the traditional neighbourhood of Yuexiu in Guanghzou. By the evening, hawker stalls and small massage parlours light up dim alleys that come alive with chatter and beer drinking as friends try to beat the sultry summer heat. (Jorge Silva / REUTERS)

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A man sleeps in a cart near a market in Yuexiu. As rising labour costs and competition across Asia chip away at south China’s manufacturing advantage, the ruling Communist Party hopes its drive for more advanced production and research will push the Greater Bay Area towards new wealth. The area has a combined gross domestic product of about $1.5 trillion, roughly equivalent to that of Australia or South Korea. (Jorge Silva / REUTERS)
Updated on Oct 01, 2019 01:03 PM IST

A man sleeps in a cart near a market in Yuexiu. As rising labour costs and competition across Asia chip away at south China’s manufacturing advantage, the ruling Communist Party hopes its drive for more advanced production and research will push the Greater Bay Area towards new wealth. The area has a combined gross domestic product of about $1.5 trillion, roughly equivalent to that of Australia or South Korea. (Jorge Silva / REUTERS)

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