Known historically as Canton located on the Pearl River, about 120 km (75 mi) north-northwest of Hong Kong and north-northeast of Macau, Guangzhou is one of the five National Central Cities.
Guangzhou is the third largest Chinese city with a population of more than 12million. Some estimates place the population of the entire Pearl River Delta Mega City built up area as high as 40 million including Shenzhen (10.36 million), Dongguan (8.22 million) and most parts of Foshan (7.19 million), Jiangmen (4.45 million), Zhongshan (3.12 million) and a small part of Huizhou adjoining Dongguan and Shenzhen, with an area of about 20,000 square kilometres (7,700 sq mi) (about the same size as Slovenia). C, the Globalization and World Cities Research Network.
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Guangzhou Metro operates 144 stations, including 14 interchange stations, and 236 km of tracks. Massive expansion of the network has been planned for the decade of 2011–2020. Two new lines, Line 6 and Line 9, and extensions of Line 8 and Guangfo Line are already under construction and expected to be completed between 2013 and 2016. Total operational capacity is scheduled to exceed 600 km by 2020.