"Greater China" is an informal geographical area that shares commercial and cultural ties with the Han Chinese, The notion of "Greater China" refers to the area that usually encompasses Mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan in East Asia. Some analysts may also include places where have predominantly ethnic Chinese population such as Singapore. The term can be generalised to encompass "linkages among regional Chinese communities".
Multinational corporations are frequently using the term to name their regional headquarters. For example, P&G uses it to name its regional headquarter in Guangzhou that also operates in Hong Kong and Taipei, Taiwan. Apple uses it for its regional headquarters in Shanghai.
The term has been used for a long time, but with differing scopes and connotations.
In the 1930s George Cressey used it to refer to the entire Chinese Empire, as opposed to China proper. Usage by the United States on government maps in the 1940s as a political term included territories claimed by the Republic of China that were part of the previous Qing Empire, or geographically to refer to topographical features associated with China that may or may not have lain entirely within Chinese political borders.
The concept began to appear again in Chinese-language sources in the late 1970s, referring to the growing commercial ties between the mainland and Hong Kong, with the possibility of extending these to Taiwan, with perhaps the first such reference being in a Taiwanese journal Changqiao in 1979.
The English term subsequently re-emerged in the 1980s to refer to the growing economic ties between the regions as well as the possibility of political unification. It is not an institutionalized entity such as the EU, ASEAN, or AU. The concept is a generalization to group several markets seen to be closely linked economically and does not imply sovereignty. The concept does not always include Taiwan, for instance Cisco uses "Greater China and Taiwan" to refer to the market.
This term can be narrowly defined as referring to a geographic concept that consists of the People's Republic of China, the Republic of China, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and the Macau Special Administrative Region, where ethnic Chinese comprise the majority of the population. In this sense, the term is used to describe the ethnic and the associated political, economic and cultural ties among these Chinese societies (Harding 1993; Cheung 2013).
However, some analysts see the Greater China concept as a way to summarise 'the linkages among the fair-flung international Chinese community', thereby incorporating Singapore and overseas Chinese communities in their usage of the term (Harding 1993, 660; also see Wang 1993).