Shantou, alternately romanized as Swatow and sometimes known as Santow, is a prefecture-level city on the eastern coast of Guangdong, China, with a total population of 5,391,028 as of 2010 and an administrative area of 2,064 square kilometres (797 sq mi). Shantou, a city significant in 19th-century Chinese history as one of the treaty ports established for Western trade and contact, was one of the original special economic zones of China established in the 1980s, but did not blossom in the manner that cities such as Shenzhen, Xiamen and Zhuhai did.
The city came to prominence during the 19th century when it was established as one of the treaty ports for trading with the West. In the 1980s it was designated as one of China's Special Economic Zones with tax breaks and other government measures to encourage development. See List of Chinese provinces and regions for more detailed explanations of "treaty port" and "special economic zone" if required. Overseas visitors are not common in the rural areas around Shantou, and those of non-Chinese ethnicity will definitely be an attraction to residents. Those unaccustomed to this may feel intimidated. However, this is a very friendly type of attention, and unless you really dislike interaction with people you don't know, this will almost certainly be a highlight of your trip. Do not be surprised if people want their picture taken with you, or if they yell to friends and family to come look at you as well.