For over 400 years, Guangzhou has been a city famed for trade, namely with the Middle East and Africa. Guangzhou is home to China's largest African and Middle Eastern communities. If you go to areas such as Sanyuanli and Xiaobei, you may be forgiven for thinking that you've suddenly arrived in Lagos, Nairobi, Dubai etc. The road signs are in both Arabic and Chinese, and there are many restaurants serving authentic African and Middle Eastern cuisine, all operated by the natives of countries from those areas. As one may expect in a multi-cultural society, there are quite a number of mixed-race people too (Chinese-Africans, African-Middle Eastern etc.). While it may sound derogatory to those in countries outside of China, the local Cantonese people call this area 'Chocolate City'.
Sanyuanli is also an area known as trade city. Most of the trade is with countries on the African Continent and the Middle East. Numerous shops sell various products, including garments, non-branded/ designer fake shoes and other bric-a-brac.
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