Canton Tower facts and information

Canton Tower seen from Haixinsha Island
Canton Tower seen from Haixinsha Island

Canton Tower is an observation & communication tower in Guangzhou, China. The tower is a landmark of Guangzhou and is the tallest tower in China. Below are facts about Canton Tower and some related information.


Canton Tower is located on the south banks of the Pear River, on the Yiyuan Road, besides a park, in the Haizhu District of the city of Guangzhou.
Standing across the river from the city's central business district, the location of the tower is specially chosen for it's on a south-to-north axis that runs through the middle point between the East Tower(CTF Finance Center) and the West Tower(Guangzhou IFC), connecting the Canton Tower to the CITIC Plaza (the first supertall building built in Guangzhou) at the northern end.

West Tower, East Tower and CITIC Plaza
West Tower (left), East Tower (right) and CITIC Plaza in the distance on the northern end of the axis

The easiest option to get to the Canton Tower is to take the metro line 3 and get off at Canton Tower Station, then get out from Exit A.


Canton Tower stands 604 meters (1982 feet), this is measured from the ground to the tip of the tower's antenna. The rooftop of the tower is 454 meters high.

Canton Tower looked from the sky
Canton Tower looked from the sky

When Canton Tower was first built in 2010, it was built to 610 meters (2001 feet) tall. Short after that, the authorities claim the tower may affect the security of a nearby airline, and ordered the developer to reduce the tower's height. So the top section of the antenna was cut to lower the height, decreasing the height of the tower to 604 meters.

As of 2018, Canton Tower is the tallest tower in China and second tallest tower in the world. The tower is China's second tallest man-made structure, only after Shanghai Tower.


Canton Tower is designed by the Amsterdam-based architectural firm IBA (Information Based Architecture) in joint with London-based company Arup, which acts as the structural engineer for the project.

Like regular skyscrapers, Canton Tower features a reinforced concrete core, the core is set inside the outer skeletal structure which is composed of steel lattice. A series of smaller structures are suspended at the gap between the core and the outer skeletal structure from the ground to the roof. These smaller structures contain occupied floors shaped in elliptical form, the twisting design of the tower is achieved by rotating the elliptical floors in each of these suspended structures for some degrees as the tower rises.

The spiral shape of Canton Tower
The spiral shape of Canton Tower

As one of its nicknames (Slim Waist) suggests, the body of the tower has a "slim waist", this is its most iconic feature, its body gradually shrinks to its midsection before bursting outward at the upper section. Such kind of form can also be found on the Kobe Port Tower, a sightseeing tower built in 1963 in Kobe, Japan. And the tallest building in China's capital city Beijing also has a similar form.

Kobe Tower in Japan
Kobe Tower in Japan, it has a shape that similar to Canton Tower

Every day after sunset, Canton Tower will be illuminated from the bottom to top, ensuring the tower being highly visible in the skyline of Guangzhou during both the day and the night.
The tower is lit through an LED system which is integrated into the body of the tower, the lighting is controllable and allows for color changes and animations across the entire tower.


Canton Tower is used for a variety of purposes, the tower contains observation decks, revolving restaurants, a food court, exhibition area, shops, cinemas, and the radio transmission facilities. These different functional spaces are set within different zones from the bottom to the top of the tower.

The exhibition area, shops and food court are located at the bottom zone, the zone also contains a parking area. The tower is connected to a metro line which run through the underground of it.
The zone from 80 to 170 meters (262 to 558 feet) contains coffee shops, restaurants, a 4D cinema.
The aforementioned suspended structures each has a publicly accessible sky garden on the top, allowing visitors to get the views of cityscape from different altitudes.

The waist section of the tower has a spiral open-air sky walk for visitors to climb, the sky walk is about 1000 meters long, it is the highest and longest open-air staircase in the world.

The spiral sky walk on Canton Tower
The spiral sky walk on Canton Tower

The sky walk starts at a height of 168 m (551 ft) and spirals up through the waist of the tower, then ends at a height of 334 m (1095 ft). There are 1096 steps from the start point to the end point. Some parts of the sky walk are laid with transparent glass.

Closer view of the sky walk
Closer view of the sky walk

The top zone of the tower starts above the sky walk, the zone contains a two-story revolving restaurant and three observation decks on the uppermost floors and rooftop. There's a tuned mass damper placed within the top zone to stabilize against sway of the tower caused by wind.


Canton Tower has a sky walk and a series of observation decks that open to public. An indoor observatory occupies the top two floors of the tower, the upper indoor observation deck is at 449 meters above the ground.

The indoor observation deck of Canton Tower
The indoor observation deck of Canton Tower

Above the indoor observatory is a large open-air observatory, at an elliptical terrace on the rooftop, which is 454 meters high above the ground. It can be accessed via a staircase from the indoor observatory.

There is a sloping wheel with 16 transparent passenger cars surrounding the edge of the elliptical terrace, the wheel rotates once every 20-40 minutes, each passenger cars is 3.2 meters in diameter and capable of holding 6 people.

The passenger cars on Canton Tower
The passenger cars on Canton Tower

The highest accessible point for tourists is a smaller observation deck at the height of 488 meters. This smaller observation deck is set on a ring structure, which is attached to the lower section of the tower's antenna.

When it first opened in 2011, it was the highest observation deck in the world. It remained that for about 3 years, and was only surpassed by a new observation deck on Burj Khalifa opened in October 2014. After that, the observation deck on Shanghai Tower overtook the title of highest observation deck in 2016.

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