In my daily ploughing through a couple of hundred RSS feeds, I read from Danwei, there’s a new quarterly magazine out covering my favourite place, the Pearl River Delta, Destination PRD. It looks mostly aimed at visiting business people, and maybe good for tourists too, and with last years messy demolition of That’s Magazines, leaving I think a fairly poor going-through-the-motions shell of what – when I first arrived in Guangzhou – was an indispensable print and web-based monthly, there’s a crying need for a good English language magazine for Kanton Guangdong.
This magazine was willed into existence by many varied influences. The earliest was the experience of a boat trip from Hong Kong to Jiangmen in February 2004, when the relatively unspoiled potential of the western Pearl River Delta was revealed to an ignorant foreigner. Another was the afternoon spent strolling around Shamian island in Guangzhou, soaking up the innate charm of the old neighborhood, with its Opium Wars-era buildings, and realizing its tourism possibilities while at the same time understanding the ideological obstacles holding back its development. The clincher, however, was at the PRD Conference organized by the South China Morning Post and Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce in Zhongshan, hometown of Sun Yatsen, in September 2004. It came when Hopewell’s Gordon Wu Ying-sheung, who saw the PR D’s potential for bridge-building before most, responded to a question on why he was in the business by saying: “It’s very simple, you see, the Pearl River Delta has a lot of rivers and people don’t like to get their feet wet.”