China Seminar | 12 April 2007

Polishing the Pearl: Inside the New Pearl River Delta

Christopher Cottrell Christopher Cottrell

In 2007, the Ritz-Carlton will open two new hotels, one in Guangzhou and one in Shenzhen, both of which will see 60 four and five star hotels open in the next three years. Dongguan now has equestrian facilities and stellar golf courses. Zhuhai’s seaside villas are going like hot-cakes. Upscale malls in Guangzhou and Shenzhen host fashion galas every month and wine parties are de-rigueur for China’s nouveau-riche across the delta. Six international airports stretch from Shenzhen to Zhuhai. And the Hong Kong to Zhuhai and Macau bridge is well underway. Welcome to the New Pearl River Delta, where posh property, leisure, fashion, gaming and a newly upwardly mobile section of Guangdong province are re-defining a region that is simultaneously sowing itself together with a power- house communication and transport infrastructure. What will become of this new PRD? What are some social and environmental repercussions of such growth and consumption? To what extent can politics and an open media in Hong Kong and Macau influence the course of the delta’s future?

Born and raised in California, Christopher Cottrell studied history and anthropology at the University of California, Santa Cruz and holds an M.A. in Pacific Islands history from the University of Hawaii, Manoa. He has reported on Hawaii for the Los Angeles Times, Boston Globe and Honolulu Star-Bulletin, among others. For the past four years, he has been based in Shanghai and Guangzhou as an entertainment writer and editor. In May 2006, he created the regional lifestyle and entertainment magazine that’s PRD (Pearl River Delta) for Guangzhou and Shenzhen. Currently, he serves as Editor-in-Chief of Macau Business magazine.