Panyu is a district of Guangzhou, the capital of Guangdong province in southern China. It was formerly a county-level city before it became a district of Guangzhou. The name of Panyu dates back to the conquest of Guangdong by Qin Shi Huang. It was the old name of present-day Guangzhou. The district covers an area of about 661.88 square kilometres (255.55 sq mi).
Panyu lies at the heart of the Pearl River Delta, its boundary straddles from latitudes 22.26' to 23.05', and sprawls from longitudes 113.14' to 113.42'. Facing the Lion Sea in the east and the estuary of the Pearl River in the south, its eastern border is separated from the Dongguan by a strip of water, and the western border of Panyu is adjacent to the cities of Nanhai, Shunde and Zhongshan, while it abuts the downtown of Guangzhou in the north. The site of the People's government of Panyu is Shiqiao which is 17 kilometres (11 mi) from downtown Guangzhou and 38 and 42 nautical miles (70 and 78 km) from the cities of Hong Kong and Macao respectively.
A Chinese lacquerware box with the "Panyu" name on its surface, dating from the Qin Dynasty.
There are at least 11 speculations on the etymology of the name. Established in the Qin Dynasty in 214 BC, Panyu is one of the oldest cities in China. It became the capital of Nanyue in 204 BC. The archaeological evidence states that it was a burgeoning commercial center: among the present material object remnants there are those of Southeast Asian, Indian and even African origin.
As of April 28, 2005, the new district of Nansha (南沙) was established out of parts of Panyu.
Under its various Subdistricts and Towns (and in the one Development zone), Panyu has 305 administration villages - i.e. 305 village governments. There are other 'natural villages' (自然村) which administratively count as being in one or another of the official villages.
Statistics shows that in the year of 1998, the GDP in the district was 33.25 billion yuan, an increase of 13% over the previous year, and the GDP per capita was 35.5 thousand Yuan, an increase of 11%, compared with the previous year.