Square: 1,991.64 km2 – Population: 11.91 million (2016)
Shenzhen, a major city in Guangdong Province, is a modern metropolis that links Hong Kong to China’s mainland. It's known for its shopping destinations, including Luohu Commercial City, a massive mall with a vast array of wares, from tailors’ custom clothing to faux designer bags. The city also features contemporary buildings, such as the 600m-tall skyscraper Ping An International Finance Centre, and a number of amusement parks.
Shenzhen, like China, is steeped in ancient history. Around the third century BC, writings of the Han Dynasty have a mention of this place as it was an important salt-producing area. This resulted in the area being put under special protection by the kingdom. Since this time until the medieval ages, the primary importance of this area was due to salt production, which was then exported via sea trade routes to India, the Arab world, and the Byzantine Empire. Traces of the modern city of Shenzhen first appeared around the early 15th century, during the Ming dynasty.
The word Shenzhen in the local dialect means deep drains and this area was so named due to the prevalence of many streams and rivers in the area which were then dug into channels to water the paddy fields. During colonial times, especially after the 16th century, this area was a major naval port for the Chinese Kingdom.
After the formation of the Peoples Republic of China, Shenzhen remained a smaller town till it was recognized as the first special economic zone within the country. This catapulted the small town into a major urban center in just a few years.
Shenzhen is a modern financial and commercial metropolis in China; however, it lacks the history and natural beauties that attract visitors to many of the other big cities. In recent years the city has compensated by developing excellent theme parks and man-made scenic spots. These modern facilities have succeeded in drawing in crowds of tourists, eager to check out the contemporary attractions.
Window of the World, a theme park near Shenzhen Bay, is one of the highlights of the city. The park displays miniature versions of more than 130 world famous sites, from each of the five continents. Here you are able to visit many of the world's great landmarks in just one day. Besides, there are still many attractions worth a visit in the city. Among of them, the Xianhu Botanical Garden, the Safari Park, Da Meisha and Xiao Meisha Scenic Area (two excellent bathing beaches), and Meridian View Center (also called the window of Shenzhen) are highly recommended. Moreover, Xili Lake Resort endowed with enchanting natural view offers a quiet place for citizens to be away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
SHENZHEN: CHINA’S SILICON VALLEY
Transforming from a world factory of light consumer goods to become one of the major innovation and technology hubs of China, Shenzhen was the most competitive city in China in 2016 according to the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. Shenzhen’s per capita GDP was the highest among all cities in the Guangdong province.
Shenzhen is a designated as a national hub in MOFCOM’s development plan (2015-2020) of distributive trade and logistics. It has well-established air, land and water transportation networks. Shenzhen Bao'an International Airport offers regular domestic and international flights to connect Shenzhen with over 100 major cities in the world. Shenzhen Station is the destination of railway routes from Beijing, Shanghai and major cities in China. Shenzhen Port, the second-largest port in China in terms of container throughput, provides excellent cargo services to the world.
Qianhai and Shekou, which are just across the sea from Hong Kong, are part of the Guangdong Free Trade Zone and act as a pilot demonstration base for China’s financial sector liberalization.
Shenzhen is a service-oriented economy with services accounting for 59% of its GDP in 2015. With a number of modern container ports along the coast, Shenzhen logistics sector is one of the most developed in China. Shenzhen also has a thriving retail and wholesale sector, and financial sector that contributed 20% and 24% to Shenzhen’s total service sector value-added respectively. Shenzhen is the headquarter city for a number of domestic financial institutions, including China Merchants Bank and Ping An Insurance.
The industrial sector still acts as a significant contributor to Shenzhen’s economy, accounting for 39% of the GDP in 2015. Telecommunications, computers and electronics are all major industries with manufacturing facilities in Shenzhen. ZTE and Huawei are examples of telecommunications giants that are located in Shenzhen.