Shenzhen ([ʂə́n.ʈʂə̂n] (About this sound listen)) is a major city in Guangdong Province, China. It forms part of the Pearl River Delta megalopolis. The city is located immediately north of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and holds sub-provincial administrative status, with powers slightly less than a province.[6]

Shenzhen was once a market town of 30,000[7][better source needed] people on the route of the Kowloon–Canton Railway. That changed in 1979 when Shenzhen was promoted to city-status and in 1980 designated China’s first Special Economic Zone (SEZ).[7] The 2010 Census suggested a total population of 10,357,938, a figure which includes migrants staying at least six months.[8] New outlets speculate that these statistics do not include migrant workers. Such estimates put the instantaneous or sum total of individuals who have spend majority of their day in Shenzhen to at least 18 million.[9] Shenzhen was one of the fastest-growing cities in the world during the 1990s and the 2000s.[10] A nationwide 2015 intercensal survey (mini-census conducted five years after the official census in every decade) surveyed for every city in the country recorded 11.389 million residents (9.186 million holding city residency (hukou), the remainder are considered migratory who were present at least six months of the year), while the household size increased to 2.49 people from 2.11 in 2010, indicative of soaring rents.[11] Those not present six months of the year were not tallied.

Shenzhen's modern cityscape is the result of its vibrant economy made possible by rapid foreign investment since the institution of the policy of "reform and opening" in late 1979 when the SEZ was established.[12]

Shenzhen is a major financial center in southern China. The city is home to the Shenzhen Stock Exchange as well as the headquarters of numerous home grown multinational well-known companies such as Vanke, JXD, Hytera, CIMC, Shenzhen Airlines, Nepstar, Hasee, Ping An Bank, Ping An Insurance, China Merchants Bank, Tencent, ZTE, Huawei and BYD.[13] Shenzhen ranks 22nd in the 2017 edition of the Global Financial Centres Index published by the Z/Yen Group and Qatar Financial Centre Authority.[14] It also has one of the busiest container ports in the world.[15]


Human habitation in Shenzhen dates back to ancient times. The earliest archaeological remains so far unearthed are shards from a site at Xiantouling on Dapeng Bay, dating back to 5000 BC. From the Han dynasty (third century BC) onwards, the area around Shenzhen was a center of the salt monopoly, thus meriting special imperial protection. Salt pans are still visible around the Pearl River area to the west of the city and are commemorated in the name of Yantian District (盐田, meaning "salt fields").[16][17]

The settlement at Nantou was the political center of the area from early antiquity. In the year 331 AD, six counties covering most of modern southeastern Guangdong were merged into one province or “jun” (郡) named Dongguan with its administrative center at Nantou.[16][17] As well as being a center of the politically and fiscally critical salt trade, the area had strategic importance as a stopping off point for international trade. The main shipping route to India, Arabia and the Byzantine Empire started at Guangzhou. As early as the eighth century, chronicles recorded the Nantou area as being a major commercial center, and reported that all foreign ships in the Guangzhou trade would stop there. It was also as a naval defense center guarding the southern approaches to the Pearl River.[18]

Shenzhen was also involved in the events surrounding the end of the Southern Song dynasty (1276–79). The imperial court, fleeing Kublai Khan’s forces, established itself in the Shenzhen area. Lu Xiufu, the then-chief minister, realized all was lost and knew the Mongolian forces would soon take over the area, he preferred suicide instead of the emperor being captured which might have brought shame to the dynasty.[16][17] He jumped off a cliff with Emperor Bing, aged 7, the last emperor of the Southern Song Dynasty strapped to his back, killing both. In the late 19th century the Chiu or Zhao (Zhao was also the Song Imperial surname) clan in Hong Kong identified that Chiwan (Chinese:赤湾), an area near Shekou as the final resting place of the Emperor and built a tomb for him. The tomb, since restored, is still at the same location.[19]

An old Hong Kong railway sign rendering the city's name as "Shum Chun"

Earliest known recorded that the name Shenzhen could date from 1410, during the Ming Dynasty.[20] Local people called the drains in paddy fields “zhen” (). Shenzhen (深圳) literally means “deep drains” as the area was once crisscrossed with rivers and streams, with deep drains within the paddy fields. The character is limited in distribution to an area of South China with its most northerly examples in Zhejiang Province which suggests an association with southwards migration during the Southern Song Dynasty (12th and 13th centuries).[21] The County town at Xin'an in modern Nanshan dates from the Ming Dynasty where it was a major naval center at the mouth of the Pearl River. In this capacity it was heavily involved in 1521 in the successful Chinese action against the Portuguese Fleet under Fernão Pires de Andrade. This battle, called the Battle of Tunmen, was fought in the straits between Shekou and Nei Lingding Island.[18]

In November 1979, Bao'an County (宝安县) was promoted to prefecture level, directly governed by Guangdong province. It was renamed Shenzhen, after Shenzhen town. The administrative centre of the county stood approximately around present location of the Dongmen.[16][17]

1980 onwards as a Special Economic Zone

Shenzhen was singled out to be the first of the five Special Economic Zones (SEZ) in May 1980. Initially, the SEZ comprises an area of only 327.5 km2 of southern Shenzhen, covering the current Luohu, Futian, Nanshan and Yantian districts. The SEZ was created to be an experimental ground for the practice of market capitalism within a community guided by the ideals of "socialism with Chinese characteristics".[22]

In 1982 Bao'an County was re-established, though this time as a part of Shenzhen. The county was converted to become Bao'an District, which was out of the Special Economic Zone. Shenzhen was promoted to a Sub-provincial City in March 1983 and was given the right of provincial-level economic administration in November 1988.[16][17] With a population of 30,000 in 1980, economic development has meant that by 2008 the city has had 12 million inhabitants.[23]

Shenzhen became one of the largest cities in the Pearl River Delta region, which itself is an economic hub of China, as well as the largest manufacturing base in the world.[24]

For five months in 1996, Shenzhen was home to the Provisional Legislative Council and Provisional Executive Council of Hong Kong.[25]

On 1 July 2010, the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone was expanded to include all districts, a five-fold increase over its pre-expansion size. In August 2011, the city hosted the 26th Universiade, an international multi-sport event organized for university athletes.[26]


Climate chart (explanation)
Average max. and min. temperatures in °C
Precipitation totals in mm
Source: Shenzhen Meteorological Bureau 1981–2010 normals

Shenzhen is located within the Pearl River Delta, bordering Hong Kong to the south, Huizhou to the north and northeast, Dongguan to the north and northwest. Lingdingyang and Pearl River to the west and Mirs Bay to the east and roughly 100 kilometres (62 mi) southeast of the provincial capital of Guangzhou. The municipality covers an area of 1,991.64 square kilometres (769 sq mi) including urban and rural areas, with a total population of 10,358,381 at the 2010 census.[27] It makes up part of Pearl Delta River built-up area with 44,738,513 inhabitants, spread over 9 municipalities (including Macau). The city is elongated measuring 81.4 kilometers from east to west while the shortest section from north to south is 10.8 kilometers.[28]

Rivers and reservoirs

Over 160 rivers or channels flow through Shenzhen. There are 24 reservoirs within the city limits with a total capacity of 525 million tonnes.[29]

Notable rivers in Shenzhen include the Shenzhen River, Maozhou River and Longgang River.[30]


Shenzhen is surrounded by many islands. Most of them falls under the territory of neighbouring areas such as Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and Huiyang District, Huizhou. But there are several islands under Shenzhen's jurisdiction, such as Nei Lingding Island, Dachan Island (Tai Shan Island), Xiaochan Island, Mazhou, Laishizhou, Zhouzai and Zhouzaitou. (See List of islands in Shenzhen)


Although Shenzhen is situated about a degree south of the Tropic of Cancer, due to the Siberian anticyclone, it has a warm, monsoon-influenced, humid subtropical climate (Köppen Cwa). Winters are mild and relatively dry, due in part to the influence of the South China Sea, and frost is very rare; it begins dry but becomes progressively more humid and overcast. However, fog is most frequent in winter and spring, with 106 days per year reporting some fog. Early spring is the cloudiest time of year, and rainfall begins to dramatically increase in April; the rainy season lasts until late September to early October. The monsoon reaches its peak intensity in the summer months, when the city also experiences very humid, and hot, but moderated, conditions; there are only 2.4 days of 35 °C (95 °F)+ temperatures.[31] The region is prone to torrential rain as well, with 9.7 days that have 50 mm (1.97 in) or more of rain, and 2.2 days of at least 100 mm (3.94 in).[31] The latter portion of autumn is dry. The annual precipitation averages at around 1,970 mm (78 in), some of which is delivered in typhoons that strike from the east during summer and early autumn. Extreme temperatures have ranged from 0.2 °C (32 °F) on 11 February 1957 to 38.7 °C (102 °F) on 10 July 1980.[32]

Administrative divisions

Shenzhen has direct jurisdiction over eight administrative Districts and two New Districts:

Administrative divisions of Shenzhen
Division code[33] Division Area in km2[34] Population 2010[35] Seat Postal code Subdivisions
Subdistricts Residential communities
440300 Shenzhen 1996.78 10,358,381 Futian 518000 70 775
440303 Luohu 78.75 923,421 Huangbei Subdistrict 518000 10 115
440304 Futian 78.65 1,317,511 Shatou Subdistrict 518000 10 115
440305 Nanshan 185.49 1,088,345 Nantou Subdistrict 518000 8 105
440306 Bao'an * 398.38 2,638,917 Xin'an Subdistrict 518100 10 123
440307 Longgang * 387.82 1,672,720 Longcheng Subdistrict 518100 11 111
440308 Yantian 74.63 209,360 Haishan Subdistrict 518000 4 23
440309 Longhua 175.58 1,379,460 Guanlan Subdistrict 518110 6 100
440310 Pingshan 167.00 300,800 Pingshan Subdistrict 518118 2 30
  Guangming 155.44 480,907 Guangming Subdistrict 518107 6 28
  Dapeng 295.05 126,560 Dapeng Subdistrict 518116 3 25
* — The stats does not includes the subordinated new districts.
All new districts are management areas; not administrative divisions registered under the Ministry of Civil Affairs.
* – Guangming are subordinate to Bao'an
* – Dapeng are subordinate to Longgang

The Special Economic Zone (SEZ) comprised only Luohu, Futian, Nanshan, and Yantian districts until 1 July 2010, when the SEZ was expanded to include all the other districts, a five-fold increase over its pre-expansion size.

Adjacent to Hong Kong in southern China, Luohu is the financial and trading center of Shenzhen. Futian, at the heart of the SEZ, is the seat of the Municipal Government. West of Futian, Nanshan is the center for high-tech industries. Formerly outside the SEZ, Bao'an and Longgang are located to the north-west and north-east, respectively, of central Shenzhen. Yantian is the location of Yantian Port, the second busiest container terminal in mainland China and the third busiest in the world.

Special Economic Zone Border

Land borders between Shenzhen SEZ and the rest of China existed before 2010. The border was known as 二线关 (pinyin: èr xiàn guān).

The border was set up since the establishment of the SEZ. Initially, the border control was relatively strict, requiring non-Shenzhen citizens to obtain special permissions for entering. Over the years, border controls have gradually weakened, and permission requirement has been abandoned.

On 1 July 2010, the original SEZ border control was cancelled, and the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone was expanded to the whole city. The area of Shenzhen SEZ thus increased from 396 square kilometres (153 sq mi) to 1,953 square kilometres (754 sq mi).[36]Since June 2015 the existing unused border structures have been demolished and are being transformed into urban greenspaces and parks.[37][38][39] On 15 January 2018, the State Council approved the removal of the barbed wire fence set up to mark the boundary of the SEZ.[40][41]

Although the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone have been extended to cover the whole of Shenzhen, colloquially Shenzhen is still said to be separated into two areas, with the original four districts comprising the SEZ before 2010 as 关内 (pinyin: guān nèi; literally: "within the border") and the rest known as 关外 (pinyin: guān wài; literally: "outside of the border").[42]


Shenzhen population dynamics
  population with permanent registration (hukou)
  population with non-permanent registration
Shenzhen official annual population growth rate (%)

Shenzhen has seen its population and activity develop rapidly since the establishment of the SEZ. Shenzhen has an official population of over 10 million. About six million are registered non-local migrant workers who may return to their home town/city on the weekends and live in factory dormitories during the week. The population growth of Shenzhen proper slowed down to less than one percent per year by 2013 with growth spilling over the municipal border and forming a contiguous urban area with southern Dongguan and Huizhou Cities. However, due to the large unregistered floating migrant population living in the city, official estimates put Shenzhen's population at around 20 million inside the administrative area given at any specific moment.[43][44] Shenzhen is the largest migrant city in China.[45]

There had been migration into southern Guangdong province and what is now Shenzhen since the Southern Song dynasty (1127–1279) but the numbers increased dramatically since Shenzhen was established in the 1980s. In Guangdong province, it is the only city where the local language, Cantonese, Hakka, or Teochew, is not the main language; it is Mandarin that is mostly spoken, with migrants from all over China. At present, the average age in Shenzhen is less than 30. The age range is as follows: 8.49% between the age of 0 and 14, 88.41% between the age of 15 and 59, and 3.1% aged 65 or above.[46]

The population structure has great diversity, ranging from intellectuals with a high level of education to migrant workers with poor education.[47] It was reported in June 2007 that more than 20 percent of China's PhD graduates had worked in Shenzhen.[48] Shenzhen was also elected as one of the top 10 cities in China for expatriates. Expatriates choose Shenzhen as a place to settle because of the city’s job opportunities as well as the culture’s tolerance and open-mindedness, and it was even voted China’s Most Dynamic City and the City Most Favored by Migrant Workers in 2014.

According to a survey by the Hong Kong Planning Department, the number of cross-border commuters increased from about 7,500 in 1999 to 44,600 in 2009. More than half of them lived in Shenzhen.[49] Though neighboring each other, daily commuters still need to pass through customs and immigration checkpoints, as travel between the SEZ and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) is restricted.

Mainland residents who wish to enter Hong Kong for visit are required to obtain an "Exit-Entry Permit for Travelling to and from Hong Kong and Macao". Shenzhen residents can have a special 1 year multiple-journey endorsement (but maximum 1 visit per week starting from April 13, 2015) This type of exit endorsement is only issued to people who have hukou in certain regions.[50](See Exit-Entry Permit for Travelling to and from Hong Kong and Macau.)

Metropolitan area

The encompassing metropolitan area was estimated by the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) to have, as of 2010, a population of 23.3 million.[51][2]


Prior to the establishment of Special Economic Zone, the indigenous local communities could be divided into Cantonese and Hakka speakers,[52] which were two cultural and linguistic sub-ethnic groups vernacular to Guangdong province. Two Cantonese varieties were spoken locally. One was a fairly standard version, known as standard Cantonese. The other, spoken by several villages south of Fuhua Rd. was called Weitou dialect.[53] Two or three Hong Kong villages south of the Shenzhen River also speak this dialect. This is consistent with the area settled by people who accompanied the Southern Song court to the south in the late 13th century.[54] Younger generations of the Cantonese communities now speak the more standard version. Today, some aboriginals of the Cantonese and Hakka speaking communities disperse into urban settlements (e.g. apartments and villas), but most of them are still clustering in their traditional urban and suburban villages.[55]

The influx of migrants from other parts of the country has drastically altered the city's linguistic landscape, as Shenzhen has undergone a language shift towards Mandarin, which was both promoted by the Chinese Central Government as a national lingua franca and natively spoken by most of the out-of-province immigrants and their descendants.[56][57] Despite the ubiquity of Mandarin Chinese, local dialects such as Cantonese, Hakka, and Teochew are still commonly spoken among locals. Hokkien and Xiang are also sometimes observed.[citation needed]

Mandarin native speakers, whose majority are out-of-province immigrants are found unwilling to learn Cantonese, Hakka or Teochew, due to the perceived complexities of learning the dialects as well as Mandarin's official use, educational priority, and use as a lingua franca.[58] However, in recent years multilingualism is on the rise as descendants of immigrants begin to assimilate into the local culture through friends, television and other media.[59]



Religion in Shenzhen (2010)[60]

  Other / Chinese folk religions - 37 %
  Buddhism - 26 %
  Taoism - 18 %
  Christianity - 2 %
  Islam - 2 %
  atheists / agnostics / unaffiliated - 15 %

According to the Department of Religious Affairs of the Shenzhen Municipal People's Government, the two main religions present in Shenzhen are Buddhism and Taoism. Every district also has Protestant churches, Catholic churches, and mosques.[61] According to a 2010 survey held by the University of Southern California, approximately 37% of Shenzhen's residents were practitioners of Chinese folk religions, 26% were Buddhists, 18% Taoists, 2% Christians and 2% Muslims; 15% were unaffiliated to any religion.[60] Most new migrants to Shenzhen rely upon the common spiritual heritage drawn from Chinese folk religion.[62][63] Shenzhen also hosts the headquarters of the Holy Confucian Church, established in 2009.[64]


City economic overview

Shenzhen was the first of the Special Economic Zones to be established by Deng Xiaoping and it showed the most rapid growth, averaging at a very high growth rate of 40% per year between 1981 and 1993, compared to the average GDP growth of 9.8% for the country as a whole.[65]The economic growth later slowed after this early breakneck pace. From 2001 to 2005, Shenzhen's overall GDP grew by 16.3 percent yearly on average. Since 2012, economic growth has slowed to around 10% per year. Currently it's growing with 6 a 7% per year.

Shenzhen's economic output is ranked 3rd among the 659 Chinese cities (behind Beijing, Shanghai). The city was ranked 19th in the 2016 Global Financial Centres Index.[66] In the 2017 Global Financial Centres Index, Shenzhen was ranked as having the 22nd most competitive financial center in the world.[67]

In 2016, Shenzhen's GDP totaled $303.37 billion, putting it on par with a mid-sized Chinese province by terms of total GDP. Its total economic output is higher than that of small countries like Portugal, the Republic of Ireland, and Vietnam. Its ppp per-capita GDP was $49,185 (unregistered migrant population not counted) as of 2016, on par with developed countries such as Australia and Germany.

In 2017, Shenzhen's economic output totalled $338 billion, surpassing that of Guangzhou, Hong Kong for the first time and ranked No.3 in China, only behind Shanghai and Beijing. It's new status will allow the city to become the leading economic engine in China's Greater Bay Area Initiative.

Shenzhen is a major manufacturing center in China. In the financial sector, large Chinese banks such as Ping An Bank and China Merchants Bank have their headquarters in Shenzhen.

In the 1990s, Shenzhen was described as constructing "one high-rise a day and one boulevard every three days". The Shenzhen's rapidly growing skyline is regarded among the best in the world. It currently has 59 buildings at over 200 meters tall, including the 599 m tall Ping An Finance Centre (the fourth-tallest building in the world) and the 442 m tall Kingkey 100 (renamed to KK100), the 14th-tallest building in the world.[68]

High-Tech Industry

Shenzhen's most important economic sector lies in its role as the headquarters for many of China's high-tech companies. Shenzhen is home to many internationally successful high-tech companies, including Huawei, Tencent, BYD, Konka, Skyworth, Coolpad, ZTE, Gionee, TP-Link, DJI, BGI (Beijing Genomics Institute), OnePlus, etc.[69] Other prestigious Chinese companies also have large operation centers in Shenzhen including the China International Marine Containers, the largest container-manufacturing company in the world,[70] and Vanke, which is among the largest residential real estate developers in China.[71] Taiwan's largest company, Hon Hai Group, has a large manufacturing plant based in Shenzhen. Many foreign high-tech companies have their China operations centers located in the Science and Technology Park of the Nanshan District.[72]

Due to its unique status as the first Chinese 'Special Economic Zone', Shenzhen is also an extremely fertile ground for startups, be it by Chinese or foreign entrepreneurs. Successful startups include Petcube, Palette, WearVigo, Notch and Makeblock.[73][74] Shenzhen is also the product development base of the hardware startup accelerator, HAX Accelerator (formerly HAXLR8R).[75]

Industrial zones

Shenzhen High-Tech Industrial Park
  • Shenzhen Hi-Tech Industrial Park (SHIP) was founded in September 1996. It covers an area of 11.5 km2 (4.4 sq mi). Industries encouraged in the zone include Biotechnology/Pharmaceuticals, Building/Construction Materials, Chemicals Production and Processing, Computer Software, Electronics Assembly & Manufacturing, Instruments & Industrial Equipment Production, Medical Equipment and Supplies, Research and Development, Telecommunications Equipment.
  • Shenzhen Software Park is integrated with Shenzhen Hi-Tech Industry Park, an important vehicle established by Shenzhen Municipal Government to support the development of software industry. The Park was approved to be the base of software production of the National Plan in 2001. The distance between the 010 National Highway and the zone is 20.8 km (12.9 mi). The zone is situated 22 km (14 mi) from the Shenzhen Bao'an International Airport.[76]

Shenzhen Stock Exchange

The Shenzhen Stock Exchange (SZSE) is a mutualized national stock exchange under the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) that provides a venue for securities trading.[77] A broad spectrum of market participants, including 540 listed companies, 35 million registered investors and 177 exchange members, create the market. Since its creation in 1990, the SZSE has grown with a market capitalization around 1 trillion yuan (US$122 billion). On a daily basis, around 600,000 deals, valued at US$807 million, trade on the SZSE.

Economic cooperation with Hong Kong

The Shenzhen Bay Bridge forms part of the Shenzhen Bay Port crossing, connecting Dongjiaotou in Shenzhen with Ngau Hom Shek in Hong Kong

Hong Kong and Shenzhen have close business, trade and social links as demonstrated by the statistics presented below. Except where noted the statistics are taken from sections of the Hong Kong Government website.[78]

As of September 2016, there are nine crossing points on the boundary between Shenzhen and Hong Kong, among which six are land connections. From west to east these include the Shenzhen Bay Port, Futian Port, Huanggang Port, Man Kam To Port, Luohu Port and Shatoujiao Port. On either sides of each of these ports of entry are road and/or rail transportation.[79][80]

In 2006, there were around 20,500 daily vehicular crossings of the boundary in each direction. Of these 65 percent were cargo vehicles, 27 percent cars and the remainder buses and coaches. The Huanggang crossing was most heavily used at 76 percent of the total, followed by the Futian crossing at 18 percent and Shatoujiao at 6 percent.[81] Of the cargo vehicles, 12,000 per day were container carrying and, using a rate of 1.44 teus/vehicle, this results in 17,000 teus/day across the boundary,[82] while Hong Kong port handled 23,000 teus/day during 2006, excluding trans-shipment trade.[83]

Trade with Hong Kong in 2006 consisted of US$333 billion of imports of which US$298 billion were re-exported. Of these figures 94 percent were associated with China.[84] Considering that 34.5 percent of the value of Hong Kong trade is air freight (only 1.3 percent by weight), a large proportion of this is associated with China as well.[85]

Also in 2006 the average daily passenger flow through the four connections open at that time was over 200,000 in each direction of which 63 percent used the Luohu rail connection and 33 percent the Huanggang road connection.[80] Naturally, such high volumes require special handling, and the largest group of people crossing the boundary, Hong Kong residents with Chinese citizenship, use only a biometric ID card (Home Return Permit) and a thumb print reader. As a point of comparison, Hong Kong’s Chek Lap Kok Airport, the 5th busiest international airport in the world, handled 59,000 passengers per day in each direction.[85]

Hong Kong conducts regular surveys of cross-boundary passenger movements, with the most recent being in 2003, although the 2007 survey will be reported on soon[when?]. In 2003 the boundary crossings for Hong Kong Residents living in Hong Kong made 78 percent of the trips, up by 33 percent from 1999, whereas Hong Kong and Chinese residents of China made up 20 percent in 2006, an increase of 140 percent above the 1999 figure. Since that time movement has been made much easier for China residents, and so that group have probably increased further still. Other nationalities made up 2 percent of boundary crossings. Of these trips 67 percent were associated with Shenzhen and 42 percent were for business or work purposes. Of the non-business trips about one third were to visit friends and relatives and the remainder for leisure.[86]

After Shenzhen's attempts to be included in the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge project were rejected in 2004, a separate bridge was conceived connecting Shenzhen on the Eastern side of the Pearl River Delta with the city of Zhongshan on the Western side: the Shenzhen-Zhongshan Bridge.


Qianhai, which means "foresea" in Chinese language, formally known as the Qianhai Shenzhen-Hong Kong Modern Service Industries Cooperation Zone, is "a useful exploration for China to create a new opening up layout with a more open economic system."[87] A 15 km² area located in western Shenzhen, Qianhai lies at the heart of the Pearl River Delta, adjacent to Shenzhen international airport. Strategically positioned as a zone for the innovation and development of modern services, Qianhai will facilitate closer cooperation between Hong Kong and mainland China, as well as act as the catalyst for industrial reform in the Pearl River Delta.[88] With the goal of loosening capital account restrictions, Qianhai authorities have indicated that Hong Kong banks will be allowed to extend commercial RMB loans to Qianhai-based onshore mainland entities. The People's Bank of China has also indicated that such loans will for the first time not be subject to the benchmark rates set by the central bank for all other loans in the rest of China. According to Anita Fung from HSBC, "This new measure on cross-border lending will enhance the co-operation between Hong Kong and Shenzhen and accelerate cross-border convergence."[87]


The tallest building in Shenzhen is the 599-meter, 115 floor Ping An Finance Centre, which is also the second tallest in China and the fourth tallest building in the world.[89] The second-tallest building is the Kingkey 100, rising 441.8 metres (1,449 ft) and containing 100 floors of office and hotel spaces.[90] Shenzhen is also the home to the Shun Hing Square (Diwang Building), the tallest in Asia (if the antenna is taken into account) when it was built in 1996.[91][92] Most of the city's skyscrapers are concentrated in Nanshan, Luohu and Futian districts. SEG Plaza, in Huaqiangbei, is also a noted landmark at a height of 356 meters (291.6 meters to roof-top[93]). Guomao Building was furthermore the tallest building in China when it was completed in 1985.[94]

There is a significant number[vague] of supertalls either proposed, approved or under construction that are well over 300 m (984 ft) in Shenzhen. Ones that have been completed or topped out since 2014 include the China Resources Headquarters, Riverfront Times Square, China Chuneng Tower, Hanking Center, Hon Kwok City Center, Chang Fu Jin Mao Tower, Zhongzhou Holdings Financial Center, East Pacific Business Center, One Shenzhen Bay Tower 7 and Shum Yip Upperhills, among others.

There were more skyscrapers completed in Shenzhen in the year 2016 than in the whole of the USA and Australia combined, such is the rate at which the skyline is being transformed.[95]



Since February 2003, the road border crossing at Huanggang and Lok Ma Chau in Hong Kong has been open 24 hours a day. The journey can be made by private vehicle or by bus. On 15 August 2007, the Lok Ma Chau-Huanggang pedestrian border crossing opened, linking Lok Ma Chau Station with Huanggang. With the opening of the crossing, shuttle buses between Lok Ma Chau transport interchange and Huanggang were terminated.

The planned Shenzhen–Zhongshan Bridge will connect Shenzhen on the Eastern side of the Pearl River Delta with the city of Zhongshan on the Western side. It will consist of a series of bridges and tunnels, starting from Bao'an International Airport on the Shenzhen side. Construction of the proposed 51 km (32 mi) eight-lane link is scheduled to start in 2015, with completion scheduled for 2021.

Taxis are metered and come in four colors. The red taxis may travel throughout the city. The green taxis are restricted to travel outside of the original Shenzhen Special Economic Zone (SEZ) (Futian, Nanshan, Luohu and Yantian districts). Conversely, the less-common yellow taxis, charging the same as the red ones, run only within the original Shenzhen SEZ. A recently introduced electric-powered taxi costs similar to the red and yellow ones, only having no fuel surcharge levied on.

There are also frequent bus and van services from Hong Kong International Airport to Huanggang and most major hotels in Shenzhen. A bus service operated by Chinalink Bus Company operates from Kowloon Station on the Airport Express MTR line (below Elements Mall) direct to the Shenzhen International airport.[96]

As of 29 December 2014, Shenzhen banned passenger vehicles with license plates issued in other places from four of Shenzhen's main districts during peak times on working days.[97]


The city's 260-kilometre (162 mi) coastline is divided by the main landmass of Hong Kong (namely the New Territories and the Kowloon Peninsula) into two halves, the eastern and the western. Shenzhen’s western port area lies to the east of Lingdingyang in the Pearl River Estuary and possesses a deep water harbour with superb natural shelters. It is about 20 nautical miles (40 km) from Hong Kong to the south and 60 nautical miles (110 km) from Guangzhou to the north. By passing Pearl River system, the western port area is connected with the cities and counties in Pearl River Delta networks; by passing On See Dun waterway, it extends all ports both at home and abroad.

Shenzhen handled a record number of containers in 2005, ranking as the world's third-busiest port, after rising trade increased cargo shipments through the city. China International Marine Containers, and other operators of the port handled 16.2 million standard 20-foot (6.1 m) boxes last year, a 19 per cent increase. Investors in Shenzhen are expanding to take advantage of rising volume.

Yantian International Container Terminals, Chiwan Container terminals, Shekou Container Terminals, China Merchants Port and Shenzhen Haixing (Mawan port) are the major port terminals in Shenzhen.[98]


Shenzhen airport T3

Donghai Airlines, Shenzhen Airlines and Jade Cargo International are located at Shenzhen Bao'an International Airport.[99][100] The airport is 35 kilometres (22 miles) from central Shenzhen and connects the city with many other parts of China, and serves domestic and international destinations. The airport also serves as an Asian-Pacific cargo hub for UPS Airlines.[101] Shenzhen Donghai Airlines has its head office in the Shenzhen Airlines facility on the airport property.[102] SF Airlines has its headquarters in the International Shipping Center.[103]


View from Shenzhen Railway Station

Shenzhen Railway Station is located at the junction of Jianshe Road, Heping Road and Renmin Nan Road and provides links to different parts of China. There are frequent regional high speed trains to Guangzhou, plus long-distance trains to Beijing, Shanghai, Changsha, Jiujiang, Maoming, Shantou and other destinations. The train from Hong Kong's Hung Hom MTR station to the Lo Wu and Lok Ma Chau border crossings take 43 minutes and 45 minutes respectively.

Shenzhen West Station is located at Qianhai, Nanshan.This station is used for a small number of long distance trains, such as ones to Hefei.

Shenzhen North Railway Station opened in 2011 in Longhua.[104][105] The station is currently handling high-speed trains to Guangzhou South, Guangzhou North, Changsha, Wuhan, Beijing and intermediate stations on the Beijing–Guangzhou–Shenzhen–Hong Kong HSR.[106]

Shenzhen East Railway Station was opened in December 2012. It was originally called Buji station after the suburb it is located and was a Grade 3 station along the Guangshen Railway with no passenger services. Now after massive renovations, it currently handles mostly regional rail services.[107]

Pingshan Railway Station is completed in 2013 to serve high-speed trains on the Xiamen–Shenzhen HSR which opened in 2013.

Futian Railway Station was completed by the end of 2015. It is completely underground, located in the centre of its namesake Futian District. The central location means it will become the focal point for most high-speed train services on the Beijing-Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong HSR route upon completion. Connection to West Kowloon Railway Station in Hong Kong is scheduled to be completed in late 2018, allowing for 15 minute cross-border train journeys.


Map of the Shenzhen Metro

The Shenzhen Metro system opened on 28 December 2004. Phase I had only two lines: the Luobao line (now Line 1) and Longhua line (now Line 4). The Luobao line ran from Luohu (interchange for Lo Wu MTR station and Shenzhen railway station) to Window of the World (Overseas Chinese Town). The Longhua line ran from Huang Gang (now Futian Checkpoint) to Shaonian Gong (now Children's Palace). In June 2011, the Shenzhen Metro extended Line 1 and Line 4. Line 1 runs from Luohu to Shenzhen Bao'an Airport and Line 4 (now operated by Hong Kong MTR) runs from Futian Checkpoint to Qinghu. Also in June 2011, three lines of Phase II opened before the 26th summer Universiade. They are Line 2 (from Chiwan to Xinxiu), Line 3 (from Yitian to Shuanglong), and Line 5 (from Qianhaiwan to Huangbeiling).[108] The first batch of lines in Phase III, Line 11, opened in June 2016. Lines 7 and 9 opened at the end of 2016. By then the Shenzhen Metro currently has 8 lines, 199 stations, and 286 kilometres (178 mi)[109][110] of lines in operation. This made the Shenzhen Metro one of the top ten longest metro systems in the world.[111] Several additional lines and extensions as part of the second batch of Phase III expansion are under construction and will open by 2020. A number of Phase IV lines have started construction in January 2018.


Shekou Passenger Terminal in Shekou provides regular ferry transport to and from Zhuhai, Macau, Hong Kong International Airport, Kowloon, and Hong Kong Island.[112]

Fuyong Passenger Terminal in Bao'an near the airport provide services to and from Hong Kong (Hong Kong International Airport) and Macau(Taipa Temporary Ferry Terminal and Outer Harbour Ferry Terminal)[113]

Tourist destinations, parks and resorts

Major tourist attractions of Shenzhen include the China Folk Culture Village, Window of the World, Happy Valley, Splendid China, the Safari Park in Nanshan district, Chung Ying Street (a street dividing Shenzhen and Sha Tau Kok, Hong Kong), Xianhu Botanical Gardens, Minsk World, amongst others. The city also offers free admission to over twenty public city parks [114] including People's Park, Lianhuashan Park, Lizhi Park, Zhongshan Park, and Wutongshan Park.

Overseas Chinese Town (OCT)

The OCT East (东部华侨城) development in Yantian District is also an events hotspot, featuring the Ecoventure Valley (大侠谷) and the Tea Stream Resort Valley (茶溪谷) theme parks, three scenic themed towns, two 18-hole golf courses and eight themed hotels. OCT East was joined in 2012 by the OCT Bay (欢乐海岸) development in Nanshan, which brought more attractions including an exhibition center, hotels and residences, an artificial beach called CoCo Beach, and an IMAX cinema.[115]


Shekou is a former industrial zone with a largely expatriate residential community, also home to a large shopping district called Sea World (海上世界) where a former French cruise liner Minghua (明华), (known in French formerly as MS Ancerville) is cemented into the ground to become a hotel complex.[116] Shekou was expanded and renovated in recent years, partially via land reclamation.

Happy Valley

Happy Valley (欢乐谷) is one of the biggest amusement parks in Shenzhen.


Beaches in Shenzhen include Dameisha and Xiaomeisha in Yantian and Xichong Beach in the south of Dapeng Peninsula.

Museums and exhibitions


Shenzhen News (zh) (深圳晚报) is a Chinese-language newspaper serving Shenzhen.

Shenzhen Daily is an English-language news outlet for Shenzhen. It also covers local, national and international news.

ShekouDaily.com is an online media outlet providing news and resources that focus on the Shekou sub-district in Nanshan District of Shenzhen.[118]


The planned Shenzhen Universiade Sports Center Gymnasium will be one of the venues for the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup.[119]

Shenzhen has two local football clubs, Shenzhen F.C. and Shenzhen Renren F.C., who both play home games at the 40,000 capacity Bao'an Stadium. Shenzhen F.C. was one of the earliest professional football clubs in Guangdong, originally owned by memberships, later turned to shareholding.[120] The team won Chinese Super League title in 2004 season despite severe financial problems leaving players unpaid for seven months.[121][122] The team currently plays in China League One, the second tier of Chinese football competition system.

Shenzhen Stadium is a multi-purpose stadium that hosts many events. The stadium is located in Futian District and has a capacity of 32,500. It was built in June 1993, at a cost of 141 million RMB. The 26th Summer Universiade was held in Shenzhen in August 2011.[123] Shenzhen has constructed the sports venues for this first major sporting event in the city.[124]

Shenzhen Dayun Arena is a multipurpose arena. It was completed in 2011 for the 2011 Summer Universiade. It is used for the basketball, ice hockey and gymnastics events. The Arena is the home of the Kunlun Red Star WIH of the CWHL.

Shenzhen is also a popular destination for skateboarders from all over the world, due to the architecture of the city and its lax skate laws.[125]


Colleges and universities

International schools

Sister cities

Shenzhen has been very active in cultivating sister city relationships. In October 1989, Shenzhen Mayor Li Hao and a delegation traveled to Houston to attend the signing ceremony establishing a sister city relationship between Houston and Shenzhen.[126] Houston became the first sister city of Shenzhen. Up to 2015, Shenzhen has established sister city relationship with 25 cities in the world.

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External links