The Philippines evacuated northern coastal villages, suspended ferry services and called in fishing boats on Friday as an approaching category-five storm, already labelled a super typhoon, gained strength on a path set for southern China.
With center winds of 127 mph and gusts of up to 149 mph, Typhoon Usagi, the strongest storm to hit the Western Pacific this year, was moving northwest at 12 mph between the Philippines and Taiwan and headed for Hong Kong and south China.
China's Xinhua news agency said preparations were being made for an "emergency response" in southern coastal areas.
Storm alerts have been raised on the rice and coconut-growing island of Batanes and 15 provinces on the Philippines' main island of Luzon, the weather bureau said.
(Read more: Are Japan's stocks ready to storm higher?)