Located on the Pearl River Delta in Guangdong province, Zhongshan has long been used by British firms who know it well from its close proximity to the former colony of Hong Kong. In fact, along with Macao, the former Portuguese trading post on the southern side of the Pearl River estuary, and Shenzen, just to the north of Hong Kong, Zhongshan constitutes one of the most important trading areas in all of China and possibly the world.
Although Hong Kong, Macao and Shenzen may be slightly better-known among the general public in the UK, there can be little doubt of Zhongshan’s importance to the Chinese economy. The city was often associated with high-quality craftsmanship in the past. This tradition continues because Zhongshan remains a noteworthy place for furniture making, especially from wood. However, the city is now much more diverse than it ever used to be.
Nowadays, it is associated with many more manufacturing industries. Importers of things like light fittings for both industrial end domestic markets will find a raft of businesses making such items, for example. Zhongshan’s manufacturing sector is also famed for electronic goods, especially appliances and so-called white goods. Shaxi Town, in central Zhongshan, is also well-known for its clothing manufacturing industry, especially casual garments and sportswear.
Zhongshan boasts a natural estuary port that means access for container vessels of up to 5,000 tonnes is possible year-round. The Pearl River Delta, on which the port stands, flows directly into the South China Sea for convenient onward journeys to either North America or to Europe via the Singapore Straits. The port mainly handles sea transportation for bulk cargo and containerised goods, serving Hong Kong, the southern Chinese coastal region and international shipments.
British importers can sometimes get confused by the terminology used at the port. For example, Zhongshan Port Area is just one of three port areas in Zhongshan and does not constitute the entire port in its own right. The other two port areas are the Shenwan Port Area, which lies at the mouth of the nearby at the Xijiang River, and Xiaolan Port Area, on the city’s Xiaolan Canal in the north. All three are administrated as a single entity, however, despite their different names.
It is also worth noting that a good deal of air-freighted cargo from Zhongshan passes through the nearby Hong Kong International Airport. However, air freight can also be organised via Shenzhen Bao’an International Airport in neighbouring Shenzhen. This airport is served by the likes of FedEx, UPS and Cargolux among others.