The economic structure of south China, including Hong Kong, has undergone rapid changes in the last 20 years. The transformation is more rapid in the wake of the opening up of China's economic system. This paper argues from the vantage point of the New International Division of Labour (NIDL) and investigates the impact of economic development and urban development strategies on the region. It reviews the process of economic development and the flows of resources, capital and labour forces in China as a whole, with special reference to Hong Kong and the Pearl River Delta region. Increasing economic integration has led to interaction in the planning domain, such as in infrastructural development. Selected development strategies have also been employed and these will be discussed in detail. The paper concludes that future development between Hong Kong and south China will be a symbiotic one and that the implementation of a sustainable urban development strategy is vital to the continued growth of the region.