|a variant transliteration of the Chinese name for Shantou|
city in eastern Guangdong sheng (province), southern China. It lies on the coast of the South China Sea a short distance west of the mouth of the Han River, which, with its tributary, the Mei River, drains most of eastern Guangdong. The Han forms a delta, and Shantou is on an inlet that extends about 10 miles (16 km) inland on the southwestern part of the delta. The city stands at the narrow seaward end of this inlet, where the delta on the north shore approaches the rocky promontory to the south. The harbour is impeded by a sandbar and is subject to irregular weather and typhoons. In 1922 a typhoon wrecked the port and killed some 50,000 people. In spite of these disadvantages, Shantou is the regional centre and chief port for the eastern part of Guangdong. The Han is navigable by shallow-draft boats to Meizhou, some 35 miles (55 km) above Xingning.
Learn more about Swatow with a free trial on Britannica.com.