Shenzhen is an interesting city as it is another city that tells a story about the Chinas economic transformation. Shenzhen was not much more than a fishing village until about thirty years ago when a man named Deng Xiaoping had taken the reins as Chinas leader from Mao Zedong in 1978.
Deng Xiaoping had a very different view of macro economics from his predecessor and introduced the concepts of free market theory and capitalism, gathered from his visits to the west, that are the foundation of Chinas current success.
Shenzhen was one of the first cities to be declared a ‘Special Economic Zone’ which where operated under a different set of rules, favoring the market, as opposed to a state run economy. The city boomed. In a mere 30 years it has transformed from a sleepy coastal village to modern metropolis and one of Chinas most livable cites for lifestyle and opportunity.
Shenzhen is a large spread out city running longways along the coastline and featuring four major districts being Nanshan, Futian, Yantian and Luohu, the outer districts are Bao’an, Longgang, Guangming and Pingshan. Its home to over 14 million people with an area of over 2000 square kilometers. The city has a gross domestic product of US$22 Billion (May 2010) and is one of Chinas fastest growing cities.
The city has a modern transport system featuring a mix of rail, bus, underground subway and ferry services linking to nearby coastal cities. Taxis are cheap and all the ones I’ve used have been freindly and honest, occasionaly I meet an english speaking driver but theyre rare.
Nanshan District is a particularly modern area, featuring clean, tree lined streets and even the bike freindly walkways are flower lined. It’s a pretty area, also having many huge, glitzy new shopping malls. Nanshan is also home to the Hi-Tech Industry Park which features bases for many of the big name global tech companies including Microsoft, Lenovo, IBM and more. Shenzhen University is also nearby.
Luohu District of Shenzhen is one of the major gateways to Hong Kong. There’s loads of stores in the Louhu Commercial Center (louhu, lo wu – all the same) featuring loads of knock off and copy goods like hand bags, watches, jewellery, clothes, shoes and some electrical/digital products. A short walk away from the rail station is the hugely popular Dongmen Street which is basically one big street packed, I mean packed with shops, market stalls and more.