This large region includes southern Zhejiang, Fujian, Guangdong, Hainan and Guangxi provinces, and it should probably be extended to cover Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan.
Some scholars would divide the region into a northern tea-and-rice area and a southern double cropping rice area. However, cropping, population density, urbanization and communications depend on altitude: much of the region is mountainous and temperatures and soil quality vary.
The area is linguistically very diverse, and in some sections there are large minority populations - particularly in Guangxi, where minority peoples account for almost 40 percent of the total.
Around the Pearl River Delta, near Guangzhou, which enjoys one of the highest living standards in China, population density reaches 2,000 persons per square kilometer, whereas in the uplands it is closer to 200 persons per square kilometer. Yao, She, Li and Zhuang generally live in uplands areas unsuitable for Han methods of farming. It is regarded as one of Chinas richest regions today.
Along the coast Special Economic Zones and overseas investments have revitalized the modern sector of the economy and led to dramatic changes in living standards and life styles.