Guangdong is about to embark on its biggest leadership reshuffle in at least a decade, with a glimpse of the next generation of leaders likely to emerge from personnel arrangements unveiled at annual meetings of the provincial legislature and political advisory body beginning this week. Up to half of the province's deputy governors are likely to be replaced by new faces during the meeting of the provincial people's congress beginning tomorrow, official sources with different government departments confirmed. Huang Longyun, 58, who as executive deputy governor ranks second in the provincial government, has emerged as the strongest candidate to become chairman of the provincial Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference during its annual session, opening today. Three other deputy governors, 59-year-old Li Ronggen, 58-year-old Song Hai, and 57-year-old Lei Yulan, the only woman among the province's eight deputy governors, will also leave their posts soon, official sources said. The maximum age for deputy provincial leaders and deputy ministers is 60. Analysts and government sources said new appointees, chosen with Guangdong party boss Wang Yang's preferences in mind, would help raise Wang's national profile before the next party congress in 2012. Since arriving in Guangdong in late 2007, Wang has been trying to upgrade or shift low-end manufacturing and introduce pilot administrative reforms in Shenzhen and Foshan . Both initiatives have hurt local officials' interests and they have been criticised and delayed by unhappy cadres. A Guangzhou-based analyst familiar with local affairs revealed that Guangdong had recruited about 100 officials from other provinces last year, sending them to different city-level development and reform authorities in the province. 'There's no doubt the new deputy governors will follow Wang's direction and his plan of reforming Guangdong will be pushed forward in the next two years,' the analyst said. Ren Jiantao, a political science professor at Renmin University, agreed. 'It's a great 'natural' chance for Guangdong to have new blood at the top level because the region is at the crossroads and really needs new leaders to bring new thoughts and new direction,' he said. Ren, who studied and worked in Guangzhou for nearly three decades before moving to Beijing last year, said the low-end manufacturing model Guangdong had followed since the late 1970s had to be upgraded but it was hard for officials wedded to the old ways to change. Analysts and official sources said that with Huang, a Guangdong native from the Hakka ethnic group, likely to become the province's top political adviser, the person chosen to succeed him could be a strong candidate to become the province's next governor. Guangdong governor Huang Huahua was re-elected to his second term in 2008 and is expected to retire by 2013. Another possible candidate for the chairmanship of the provincial CPPCC mentioned by local officials is Hu Zejun, head of the Communist Party's Organisation Department in Guangdong. But a former official with the provincial CPPCC said most of its staff expected Huang Longyun to get the job. The provincial CPPCC has not had a chairman for more than nine months, since the arrest and sacking of Chen Shaoji for alleged corruption. Other senior officials to have been brought down included the former head of the provincial discipline inspection committee Wang Huayuan, former Shenzhen mayor Xu Zongheng and the police chiefs of cities. But the Guangzhou-based analyst said the storm was not likely to expand too much further. 'Some big figures might be in trouble but it will not be like the high-profile crackdown on organised crime in Chongqing,' he said. Filling the vacancy left by Chen and the four deputy governors will be just a part of the reshuffle. Liu Yupu, deputy secretary of the province and party boss of Shenzhen, has passed retirement age and will stand down soon. Rising stars in the province include Guangzhou party boss Zhu Xiaodan, Shenzhen mayor Wang Rong, Heyuan party secretary Chen Jianhua and provincial propaganda department head Lin Xiong.