Guangxi (Zhuang: Gvangjsih; Simplified Chinese: 广西; Traditional Chinese: 廣西; pinyin: Guǎngxī; Wade-Giles: Kuang-hsi; Postal map spelling: Kwangsi), full name Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region - a Zhuang autonomous region of the People's Republic of China, located on the southern coast of the country. It borders Yunnan to the west, Guizhou to the northwest, Hunan to the northeast, and Guangdong to the east. It is also bordered by Vietnam to the southwest and the Gulf of Tonkin to the south, with Hainan island also lying directly below in the South China Sea. The capital city of Guangxi is Nanning.
The region's name, "Guang" literally means "expanse," and has been associated with the region since the creation of Guang Prefecture in 226. "Guangxi" and neighboring Guangdong literally mean "Guang West" and "Guang East," and together, Guangdong and Guangxi are called the "Two Guangs" (两广, Liǎng Guǎng). The abbreviation of the region is 桂 (Gui), which comes from Guilin, a major city in the autonomous region.
Guangxi has played a critical role in China's history during the past 2,000 years although remote from China's power centers on the Northeast Coast. The provinces' ethnic composition has a higher percentage of non-Han Chinese than most Chinese provinces, leading the People's Republic of China to declare Guangxi as the "Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region." With 14 million people out of Guangxi's total of 48 million population having Zhuang ethic roots, the province has a distinctly multi ethnic composition. As with other southern provinces bordering neighboring nations, Zhuang has a frontier sense of independence and freedom.
Guangxi is a mountainous region. The Nanling Mountains run along its northeast border, with the Yuecheng Mountains (越城岭) and Haiyang Mountains (海洋山) extending outward as shorter branching ridges. Nearer to the center of the region are the Dayao Mountains (大瑶山) and the Daming Mountains (大明山). To the north there are the Duyao Mountains (都阳山) and the Fenghuang Mountains (凤凰山), and the Yunkai Mountains (云开大山) run along the province's southern border. The highest point in Guangxi is Mount Mao'er (猫儿山) located in the Yuecheng Mountains, at 2141 m.
Guangxi is rich in water resources, with an estimated 188 billion cubic meters of surface water flowing throughout its land territory. That total accounts for 7.12 percent of the nation's total and ranks fifth among all of the provinces in China. The three largest water systems running through Guangxi are the Zhujiang, Yangtze and Duliu rivers, but many other small rivers cut valleys through the various mountains of the region. Most of these rivers stem from the tributary basin of the West River. In addition to its rivers, Guangxi has a short coastline along the Gulf of Tonkin, providing it with an ideal location for ports.
Guangxi has a subtropical climate. Summers are generally long and hot. Average annual temperature is 17 to 23°C, while average annual precipitation is 1250 to 1750 mm, growing gradually southward from the north. The rainfall from the time between April and September makes up about 75 percent of the total annual rainfall in the region.
Agriculture plays a vital role in Guangxi's economy. Some of its important staple crops include rice, maize, sweet potatoes, and wheat, while its cash crops include peanuts, tobacco, kenaf, and sugar cane, for which Guangxi is China's largest producer. Along with these various crops, Guangxi is the country's largest producer of fruits. Some of the most widely grown fruits in the province include pomelos, tangerines, mandarin oranges, lemons, lychees, pears, papayas, bananas, and water chestnuts.
Guangxi has more tin, manganese, and indium deposits than any other province of China. As a result of this strong resource base, the region has emerged as a major nonferrous metal production base. The region also has the largest reserve of lime and is rich in timber and forestry reserves.
Heavy industry has developed quickly in Guangxi, thanks to the economic reforms of Deng Xiaoping that were enacted during the 1970s. Some of the region's largest industries include the iron works and steel works in Liuzhou, machinery production in Nanning and Wuzhou, and the cement works of Liuzhou.
Along with these industries, Guangxi is estimated to have enormous energy potential, with a power generating ability coming to 78.8 billion kw/h annually thanks to its abundant water resources. Statistics from 1999 showed that existing hydropower stations in Guangxi had a total installed capacity of 6.1 million kw, with the annually generated electricity being 24.73 billion kw/h. However, there is still a large amount of room for development of this industry, and it should play a major role in Guangxi's economy as the national economy continues to grow and the demand for energy resources increases.
Despite these positive attributes, in recent years Guangxi's economy has languished behind that of its wealthy neighbor and twin, the province of Guangdong. Guangxi's 2006 nominal GDP was about 480.2 billion yuan (US $62.1 billion), which ranked sixteenth in China. Its per capita GDP was 10,240 yuan (US $1,330).