Chief port of the Federation of Malaysia, and capital of Penang state, on the island of Penang; population (2010) 181,400. Its sheltered harbour has made it a port of call between India and China, and by the late 20th century the port was handling most of the exports of the Malay Peninsula, including tin, rubber, and copra. Local industries include tin smelting, the milling of rice and coconuts, soap manufacture, and the assembly of electronic goods.
George Town was founded in 1786 by agents of the British East India Company, and was named after the British king George III. It is home to the University of Science of Malaysia (1969). Other features include the colonial Fort Cornwallis (1786; rebuilt 1804), St George's Church (1818), and Kek Lok Si Temple (1893–1905), which houses thousands of gilded Buddhas.