The Xi River is navigable for its entire length. It is a commercial waterway of southern China, and links the delta cities to the interior. Over two thousand years ago, the Lingqu Canal was dug, connecting the Xi River basin (the Li River, which is a tributary of the Gui River) with the Xiang River, which flows into the Yangtze, thus providing a continuous waterway from the Pearl River Delta to the Yangtze Valley.
The entire Xi River system is the largest of the Pearl's tributaries, being 2,197 km, and its volume of flow is second in China only to that of the Yangtze River. It supplies water to many places in Guangxi, Guangdong and Macau.
Other transliterations of the River's name include Hsi River and Hsi Chiang.