A pair of China's top industrial regions showed signs of economic strain at the end of 2008.

This year the situation is more serious than at any other time since the start of the decade, indeed since the Asian financial crisis, said Guangdong provincial deputy governor Huang Longyun at a press conference on Friday, according to Agence France Presse.

Economic growth in the Guangdong region slowed to 10.1 percent last year, down from 14.7 percent in 2007, according to data presented at the press conference.

The Guangdong province produces nearly a third of all of China's exports is now facing the most difficult year since the Asian financial crisis said provincial deputy governor Huang Longyun.

The number of departing immigrants in the region was 143,100 by the middle of last year, he said. However that number is now at 600,000.

The Shanghai region is also seeing declines, with industrial output experiencing double-digit decline in December, according to Caijing magazine.

The slowdown had exposed the city economy's structural problem, said Fudan University professor and consultant to the Shanghai municipal government.

Officials said Guangdong would not abandon their ambition to develop the region into a world-class manufacturing and service base.