An experiment that went right, Shenzhen’s ascendance to fame has been meteoric, happening almost overnight. A sprawling urban metropolis, set against a backdrop of creativity and innovation it is today, an incubator for cutting-edge design, a maverick tech hub, a mainstay of next-gen urbanism, and a leading cultural capital.
More than thirty years ago, Shenzhen was just a small fishing village called Baoan County, a group of farming and fishing communities along the Hong Kong border with a total population of a few hundred thousand. Renamed Shenzhen City in 1979, it was designated the first of China’s Special Economic Zones (SEZs) and since then the city has become a high spot of China’s rapid economic growth. The plan was to create an enclave to experiment with market reforms and performance incentives without disturbing the established political and economic system elsewhere in China. The experiment worked in spectacular fashion and is today a bustling city of over 14 million and a poster child of the power of liberal thought and out of the box innovation.
Located in the south of China, of strategic importance as the link between Hong Kong and Mainland China, Shenzhen is home to some of the most modern buildings in the world. A gamut of contemporary buildings, such as the 600m-tall skyscraper Ping An International Finance Centre, and the 442m tall KK 100, stand guard over the buzz of modern city life. Although the Shenzhen area is largely industrial, it offers many tourist attractions, such as the Chinese Folk Culture Village, Safari Park, and beach resorts. Perhaps one of the most frequented tourist attractions is Window of the World, which offers replicas of the Eiffel tower, the Pyramids, and Taj Mahal. The city is also known for its shopping destinations, including Luohu Commercial City, a massive mall with a vast and interesting array of goods that range from custom clothing to faux designer bags.
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