A snapshot of China’s Staggering Growth in Satellite Images

Some images released by NASA give a visual insight into the staggering growth of one of China’s fastest growing regions, the Perl River Delta, Guangdong.

Once upon a time this fertile farmland with fishing villages on the coast and rice fields inland, has in just 17 years, grown from 10 million people to 42 million people.

From 1988


Comparing the light green areas of farmland to the now light grey colored urban areas, it’s quite staggering with the urban area now covering 7,000 square kilometers. In comparison the greater metropolis of Melbourne Australia is 9,990 square kilometers and holds 4.4 million people.

Even in the few years I spent in Shenzhen, you can feel the development rate is progressing faster than ever, and that the cities of Qingyuan, Guangzhou, Dongguan, Zhongshan and Shenzhen are slowly growing into one big mega urban metropolis. Soon to be connected by fast rail, Hong Kong may come into that too, perhaps with some discontent.

You can download larger images from the NASA website here