Shēnzhèn 深圳

Once a quiet fishing village, Shenzhen has now become such a boom city that local authorities claim it’s over-populated by several million. Just 35 years ago, sleepy Shenzhen was created under the banner of Deng Xiaoping’s Special Economic Zone (SEZ) to open China’s economy to the world after decades of Maoism. Shenzhen (which soon became known as the Overnight City due to its lightning development over the course of such a short time) was an instant success, attracting those seeking employment from every part of the country. As a result, Shenzhen became a melting pot of varied traditions and customs from all corners of the Middle Kingdom and is one of the most successful SEZs in the country.

The city’s name literally translated means ‘deep drains’, and although its city-status has only really been in place for less than 40 years – before which it was a small fishing village – evidence of Shenzhen’s name date back to the time of the Ming Dynasty around the early 15th century. The area was once a wash with paddy fields, streams and rivers and plenty of... you guessed it: deep drains.

With its close proximity to Hong Kong, Shenzhen quickly became the largest city in the Pearl River Delta and looks like it’s not showing any signs of slowing down.

 

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