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The course of the Pearl River system through China and Vietnam
|State||Yunnan, Guizhou, Guangxi, Guangdong, Hong Kong, Macau, Cao Bằng, Lạng Sơn|
|Source||various sources of its tributaries|
|Mouth||South China Sea|
|Length||2,400 km (1,500 mi)|
|Basin size||453,700 km2 (175,200 sq mi)|
|• average||9,500 m3/s (340,000 cu ft/s)|
|Portuguese||Rio das Pérolas|
|Literal meaning||Guangdong River|
The Pearl River, also known by its Chinese name Zhujiang (Chu Kiang) and formerly often known as the Canton River, is an extensive river system in southern China. The name "Pearl River" is also often used as a catch-all for the watersheds of the Xi ("West"), Bei ("North"), and Dong ("East") rivers of Guangdong. These rivers are all considered tributaries of the Pearl River because they share a common delta, the Pearl River Delta. Measured from the farthest reaches of the Xi River, the Pearl River system is China's third-longest river, 2,400 kilometres (1,500 mi), after the Yangtze River and the Yellow River, and second largest by volume, after the Yangtze. The 453,700 km2 (175,200 sq mi) Pearl River Basin (珠江流域) drains the majority of Liangguang (Guangdong and Guangxi provinces), as well as parts of Yunnan, Guizhou, Hunan and Jiangxi in China; it also drains northern parts of Vietnam's Northeast Cao Bằng and Lạng Sơn provinces.
As well as referring to the system as a whole, the Pearl River (Zhu Jiang) name is also applied to a specific branch within the system. This Pearl River is the widest distributary within the delta, although notably short. The waters that converge east of the Bei Jiang are first referred to as the Pearl River just north of Guangzhou. The Pearl River is famed as the river that flows through Guangzhou. The Pearl River's estuary, Bocca Tigris, is regularly dredged so as to keep it open for ocean vessels. The mouth of the Pearl River forms a large bay in the southeast of the delta, the Pearl River Estuary, the Bocca Tigris separates Shiziyang in the north, Lingdingyang in the south, and Jiuzhouyang at the southern tip of the estuary surrounded by the Wanshan Archipelago. This bay separates Macau and Zhuhai from Hong Kong and Shenzhen.
The Pearl River is so named because of the pearl-colored shells that lie at the bottom of the river in the section that flows through the city of Guangzhou.
Zhujiang Brewery, one of the three largest domestic breweries in China, is located on the Pearl River Delta within the city of Guangzhou.
Pearl River at night, Guangzhou
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