Tale of Two Dongguans

Dongguan has gained its reputation as the factory of the world. In recent years, it boosted its economy by shifting to “smart manufacturing,” and continues to play a significant role in the Greater Bay Area with a GDP of 827.86 billion RMB in 2018.

Two DongguansAbout 2,000 kilometers away in Shandong Province, there is another, lesser-known Dongguan. Is it a coincidence that our bustling city shares the same name with a county in Shandong? Li Cheng, a lecturer from the Dongguan University of Technology, proposed a theory that our Dongguan got its name from northern immigrants from Shandong during the Three Kingdoms period. Dongguan in Shandong was established in 127 BC and is the first recorded administration using this name. It was also located in a river delta that was abundant with fish and a water plant called yu/Ju.

Because of war, people migrated from the north to the south, where they named their new home after the land of their ancestors. The settlement once covered by bulrush (guan cao) has turned into the bustling city where we live.