History of Guangxi
Important crops in Guangxi include rice, maize, sweet potatoes, and wheat. Cash crops include sugar cane, peanuts, tobacco, and kenaf.
85% of the world's star anise is grown in Guangxi. It is a major ingredient in the antiviral Tamiflu.
Guangxi has more tin, manganese, and indium deposits than any other province of China.
In recent years Guangxi's economy has languished behind that of its wealthy neighbour and twin, the province of Guangdong.
Guangxi's 2008 nominal GDP was about 717.2 billion yuan (US$103 billion) and ranked seventeenth in China. Its per capita GDP was 14,966 yuan (US$2,155).
Seventy one Taiwanese ventures started up in Guangxi in 2007, with contracts bringing in up to US$149 million of investment, while gross exports surpassed US$1 billion. There are a total of 1182 Taiwan ventures in Guangxi, and by the end of 2006, they have brought a total of US$4.27 billion of investment into the province. During the first half of 2007, 43 projects worthy of RMB2.6 billion (US$342 million) have already been contracted between Guangxi and Taiwan investors. Cooperation between Guangxi and Taiwan companies mainly relates to manufacturing, high-tech electronic industries, agriculture, energy resources, and tourism.
Guangxi Power Grid has invested 180 million yuan in 2007 in projects to bring power to areas that still lacked access to electricity. The areas affected include Nanning, Hechi, Bose and Guigang. Around 125,000 people have gained access to electricity. The money has been used to build or alter 738 10-kilovolt distribution units with a total length of wire reaching 1,831.8 kilometers.
Due to lack of investment in construction in the power grid net in rural areas, more than 400 villages in Guangxi Province were not included in the projects. Around 500,000 cannot participate in the policy known as "The Same Grid, the Same Price." Guangxi Power Grid will invest 4.6 billion yuan in improving the power grid during the 11th Five Year Plan.
Guangxi Power Grid has invested 2.5 billion yuan in building electric power system in the first half of 2007. Of the total investment, 2.3 billion yuan has been put into the project of the main power grid. So far, four new transformer substations in Guangxi are in various stages of completion. Wenfu substation went into operation in the city of Hechi on January 2007, and since then it has become a major hub of the electrical power system of the surrounding three counties. When Cangwu substation was completed, it doubled the local transformer capacity. In June 2007, the new substation in Chongzuo passed its operation tests. And in the same month, Qiulong commenced production too. This shall support the power supply system of Qiulong City, as well as the northern part of Guangxi province, and facilitate the nationwide project to transmit power from west to east.
Beibu Gulf Economic Zone
In 2008, the central government has approved China's first international and regional economic cooperation zone in Guangxi in late February. The construction of the Beibu Gulf Economic Zone began in 2006. With the approval, the Beibu Gulf Economic Zone will be formally incorporated into national development strategies.
The Beibu Gulf Economic Zone covers six coastal cities along the Beibu Gulf. It integrates the cities of Nanning, the region's capital, Beihai, Qinzhou, Fangchenggang, Chongzuo and Yulin. The state will adopt policies and measures to support mechanism innovation, rational industry layout and infrastructure construction in the Beibu Gulf Economic Zone.
Guangxi municipality has pledged a 100 billion yuan (US$ 14 billion) investment over the next five years for building and repairing 2,500 km railways to form a network hub in the area. Beibu Gulf Zone will serve as the logistics base, business base, processing and manufacturing base and information exchange center for China-ASEAN cooperation. Beibu Gulf Zone promises broad prospects for further development and its growth potential is rapidly released. But the shortage of talent and professionals in petrochemicals, iron and steel, electricity, finance, tourism, port planning, logistics and marine industries are bottlenecks.
The regional government is also working on speeding up key cooperation projects including transportation, the marine industry, agriculture, forestry, fisheries, energy development, cross-border tourism, and environmental protection. Beibu Gulf has already attracted a number of major projects such as Qinzhou oil refinery projects and Stora Enso, a Fortune 500 forest products company based in Finland. In January 2008 trade import and export in the Beibu Gulf zone exceeded US$1.3 billion, a record high.
In September 2007, China's Ministry of Commerce said that it has found 120 million tons of new bauxite reserves in Guangxi. The ministry said that the new reserves, which are located in Chongzhou in the southern region of Youjiang, has a very high-quality of bauxite, a raw material for making aluminum. Currently, the proven reserves of bauxite in Guangxi are about 1 billion tons, making the province one of the country's biggest bauxite sources.
Culture of Guangxi
The Han Chinese are the largest ethnic group, particularly the Kwongsai people.
The region has a high concentration of Zhuang, over 14 million, one of the major minority ethnicities of China. Over 90% of Zhuang in China live in Guangxi, especially in the central and western regions. There is also a significant number of both Dong and Miao minority peoples. Other ethnic groups include: Yao, Hui, Yi (Lolo), Shui, and Gin (Vietnamese). There is a minor Christian population.
"Guangxi" and neighbouring Guangdong literally mean "Guang West" and "Guang East". Together, Guangdong and Guangxi are called the "Two Guangs" (两广 Liǎng Guǎng). Its culture and language are reflected in this. Though now associated with the Zhuang ethnic minority, Guangxi's culture traditionally has had a close connection with the Cantonese. Cantonese culture and language followed the Xi River valley from Guangdong and is still predominate in the eastern half of Guangxi today. Outside of this area there is a huge variety of ethnicities and language groups represented.
Guangxi is known for its ethno-linguistic diversity. In the capital of Nanning, for example, four dialect-languages are spoken locally: Southwestern Mandarin, Cantonese, Pinghua, and Zhuang.
Industry of Guangxi
Part of the region officially became part of China in 214 BC, when the army of the Qin Dynasty claimed most of southern China. The name "Guangxi" can be traced to the Song Dynasty, which administered the area as a circuit called the Guangnanxi Circuit (literally "Guang-South West Circuit"). During the late Mongol Yuan Dynasty the name was revived again to name a province in the region, but it was shortened to "Guangxi", or "Guang-West". For the next six centuries, Guangxi was a province of China, until its conversion into an autonomous region by the People's Republic of China because of its large minority population.
During the late Qing Dynasty, Guangxi was the site of the Jintian Uprising (金田起义), which occurred in what is now Guiping county in eastern Guangxi on January 11, 1851. On March 23, 1885, Zhennan Pass (now Youyi Pass) on the border with Vietnam was also the site of the Battle of Bang Bo (镇南关战役) during the Sino-French War. During the battle, a French incursion was routed by Chinese forces under Feng Zicai (冯子才), an event that has been exalted by subsequent Chinese nationalism.
After the founding of the Republic of China, Guangxi served as the base for one of the most powerful warlord cliques of China: the Old Guangxi Clique. Led by Lu Jung-t'ing (陆荣廷) and others, the clique was able to take control of neighbouring Hunan and Guangdong provinces as well. The Old Guangxi Clique crumbled in the early 1920s, to be replaced by the New Guangxi Clique, led by Li Zongren and Bai Chongxi. Guangxi is also noted for the Baise Uprising (百色起义), a communist uprising led by Deng Xiaoping in 1929. Communist bases were set up, but eventually destroyed by Kuomintang forces.
In 1944, near the end of World War II, Japan invaded Guangxi as part of Operation Ichigo (also known as the Henan-Hunan-Guangxi Campaign (豫湘桂战役), in an attempt to seize the Hunan-Guangxi railway line and open a land link to French Indochina. The operation succeeded and most major cities in Guangxi came under Japanese occupation.
Being in the far south, Guangxi was not taken by communist forces until after the People's Republic was formed; it joined in December 1949, two months after the People's Republic's foundation. In 1958, Guangxi was converted into an autonomous region for the Zhuang, by recommendation of Premier Zhou Enlai. This decision was made because the Zhuang were the biggest minority group in China, and were mostly concentrated in Guangxi.
For most of its history, Guangxi was landlocked. In 1952, a small section of Guangdong's coastline was given to Guangxi, giving it access to the sea. This was reversed in 1955, then restored in 1965.
While some development of heavy industry occurred in the province in the 1960s and 1970s, it remained largely a tourist destination and home of scenery which brought people from all over the world. Even the economic growth in China in the 1990s seemed to leave Guangxi behind. However in recent years there has been a growing amount of industrialization, and concentration on cash crops. Per capita GDP has begun rising more rapidly, as industries in Guangdong seek a way to locate production to lower wage areas.
Guangxi celebrated its 50th anniversary as an Autonomous Region on December 11th, 2008.