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Shenzhen ( ; ) is a city of sub-provincial administrative status in southern China's Guangdongmarker province, situated immediately north of Hong Kongmarker. Owing to China's economic liberalization under the policies of reformist leader Deng Xiaoping, the area became China's first—and arguably one of the most successful—Special Economic Zones.

Shenzhen's novel and modern cityscape is the result of the vibrant economy made possible by rapid foreign investment since the late 1970s, when it was a small fishing village. Since then, foreign nationals have invested more than US$30 billion for building factories and forming joint ventures. It is now reputedly one of the fastest growing cities in the world. Being southern China's major financial centre, Shenzhen is home to the Shenzhen Stock Exchange as well as the headquarters of numerous high-tech companies. Shenzhen is also the second busiest port in mainland China, ranking only after Shanghai.


Earliest known ancient records that carried the name of Shenzhen date from 1410 during the Ming Dynastymarker. Local people called the drains in paddy fields 圳 “zhen.” Shenzhen, 深圳 literally means “deep drains” because the area used to be crisscrossed with rivers and streams, and there were deep drains in the paddy fields. Shenzhen became a township at the beginning of the Qing Dynastymarker, and was renamed Xin’an and Bao’an later.

The one-time fishing village of Shenzhen was singled out by the late Chinese paramount leader Deng Xiaoping to be the first of the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in China. It was formally established in 1979 due to its proximity to Hong Kongmarker, then a prosperous British territory. 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".

The location was chosen to attract industrial investments from Hong Kong since the two places are near each other and share the same culture. The concept proved successful, propelling the further opening up of China and continuous economic reform. Shenzhen eventually became one of the largest cities in the Pearl River Deltamarker region, which has become one of the economic powerhouses of China as well as the largest manufacturing base in the world.

Shenzhen, formerly known as Bao'an County (宝安县), was promoted to prefecture level, directly governed by Guangdongmarker province, in November 1979. In May 1980, Shenzhen was formally nominated as a "special economic zone", the first one of its kind in China. It was given the right of provincial-level economic administration in November 1988.

Shenzhen is the earliest of the five special economic zones in China. Deng Xiaoping is usually credited with the opening up of economic revival in China, often epitomized with the city of Shenzhen, which benefited the most from the policies of Deng.

For five months in 1996, Shenzhen was home to the Provisional Legislative Council and Provisional Executive Council of Hong Kongmarker.


The boomtown of Shenzhen is located in the Pearl River Deltamarker. The municipality covers an area of 2,050 km² (790 sq. miles) including urban and rural areas, with a total population of 8,615,500, at the end of 2007. Among those, 2,123,800 had legal permanent residence. Shenzhen is a sub-tropical maritime region, with occasional tropical cyclones in summer and early autumn, with an average temperature of 22.4°C year-round (72°F) although daytime temperatures can exceed 35°C.

Shenzhen was originally a hilly area, with fertile agrarian land. However, after becoming a special economic zone in 1979, Shenzhen underwent tremendous change in landscape. The once hilly fishing village is now replaced by mostly flat ground in downtown area, with only Lianhua Shan (Lotus Hill), Bijia Shan (Bijia Mountain) and Wutong Shan the only three places that have some kind of elevation viewed from satellites. With the influx of emigrants from inland China, Shenzhen is experiencing a second stage boom, and it is now expanding peripherally and the hills in surrounding areas such as Mission Hills are now being toppled over to make land for more development.

Shenzhen is located on the border with the Hong Kong SAR across the Sham Chun River and Sha Tau Kok River, 100 km southeast of the provincial capital of Guangzhoumarker, and 60 km south of the industrial city of Dongguanmarker. To the southwest, the resort city of Zhuhaimarker is a 60 km away.

Administrative divisions

Shenzhen is a sub-provincial city. It has direct jurisdiction over seven districts (区 qu):

Subdivision Population Land area
as of 2006 km²
Shenzhen City Proper
Luohu-qu 罗湖区 867,800 78.9
Futian-qumarker 福田区 1,182,200 79
Nanshan-qumarker 南山区 3,380,000 151
Yantian-qu 盐田区 218,700 72.63
Shenzhen Suburban and Rural
Bao'an-qu 宝安区 3,380,000 712.95
Longgang-qu 龙岗区 1,900,000 844.07
Guangming xin-qu 光明新区 n/a 89

The Special Economic Zone comprises Luohu, Futianmarker, Nanshan, and Yantian but not Bao'an, Guangming, and Longgang.

Located in the centre of the SEZ and adjacent to Hong Kong, Luohu is the financial and trading centre. It covers an area of 78.89 km². Futian, where the Municipal Government is situated, is at the heart of the SEZ and covers an area of 78.04 km². Covering an area of 164.29 km², Nanshan is the centre for high-tech industries and it is situated in the west of the SEZ. Outside the SEZ, Bao'an (712.92 km²) and Longgang (844.07 km²) are located to the north-west and north-east of Shenzhen respectively. Yantian (75.68 km²) is known for logistics. Yantian Port is the second largest deepwater container terminal in China and 4th largest in the world.


Shenzhen has seen its population and activity develop rapidly since the establishment of the SEZ. Its official population listed at around fourteen million (including floating residents,2008), Shenzhen has been the fastest growing city in China for the past 30 years. However, many people think there are far more residents, mostly because they are commuters from Dongguanmarker. One problem with such rampant population growth is the accompanied problem of people without hukou, or residency permits (with 70% of that number being residents without a permanent hukou), most "old" Shenzhen locals felt that the practice of opening the city to inland residents is making it less competitive with other Chinese cities.

There had been migration into southern Guangdong 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, it is the only city where Mandarin is mostly spoken, with migrants from all over China. At present, the average age in Shenzhen is less than 30. Among the total, 8.49 percent are between the age of 0 and 14, 88.41 percent between the age of 15 and 59, one-fifth between 20 and 24 and 1.22 percent are aged 65 or above.

The population structure polarizes into two opposing extremes: intellectuals with a high level of education, and migrant workers with poor education. It was reported in June 2007 that over 20 percent of China's PhD's worked in Shenzhen.

According to the Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce, in 2002, 7,200 Hong Kong residents commuted daily to Shenzhen for work, and 2,200 students from Shenzhen commuted to school in Hong Kong. Though neighbouring 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.

In late July 2003, China relaxed travel restrictions to allow individuals from the southern cities of Guangzhoumarker and Shenzhen, as well as Beijing and Shanghai, to visit Hong Kong. Previously, mainland travelers could only visit the city as part of tour groups. (See Individual Visit Scheme.)

Immigration into Shenzhen from the Chinese interior was previously restricted by the hukou system. One consequence is that just outside of Shenzhen, there exist large towns consisting of now settled migrants who had previously attempted to enter the city.


Shenzhen is situated in the subtropical part of China, located at about the Tropic of Cancermarker. The weather is generally temperate and mild in the autumn; winters are mild as the South China Seamarker buffers its climate, so cold snaps are not common. In the spring Shenzhen is relatively dry, and then it has a hot and wet summer, occasionally hit by typhoons from the east, but the temperature rarely reaches over 35 degrees Celsius.


In 2001, the working population reached 3.3 million. Though the secondary sector of industry had the largest share (1.85 million in 2001, increased by 5.5%), the tertiary sector of industry is growing fast (1.44 million in 2001, increased by 11.6%). Shenzhen's GDP totaled CNY 780.65 billion in 2008, up by 12.1 percent over the previous year, with a GDP per capita of $US 13,148.23 as of 2008. Its economy grew by 16.3 percent yearly from 2001 to 2005 on average. The proportion of the three industries to the aggregate of GDP was 0.1:48.9:51.0 in 2008. The proportion of the primary industry to GDP was down by 13.4%, and the tertiary industry was up by 12.5%. Shenzhen is in the top ranks among mainland Chinese cities in terms of comprehensive economic power. It ranked fourth in GDP among mainland Chinese cities in 2001, while it ranked the top in GDP per capita during the same period. Its import and export volumes have been first for the last nine consecutive years. It is the second in terms of industrial output. For five consecutive years, its internal revenue within local budget ranks third. It also ranks third in the use of foreign capital.

Shenzhen is a major manufacturing centre in China. In the 1990s, Shenzhen was described as, "one highrise a day and one boulevard every three days". The Shenzhen skyline has 13 buildings at over 200 metres tall, including the Shun Hing Squaremarker (the 9th tallest building in the world).

Shenzhen is home to some of P.R. China's most successful high-tech companies, such as Huawei, Tencent and ZTE. Huawei is headquartered in the Longgang District. A number of foreign IT companies also have facilities in the city. Taiwan's largest company Hon Hai Group has a manufacturing plant based in Shenzhen which makes most of the iPods, iPhones and notebooks for Apple, Incmarker. Lenovo, the Chinese conglomerate that bought the personal computing division of IBM in 2005, manufactures its line of ThinkPad notebook computers in Shenzhen. IBM has a joint venture in Shenzhen manufacturing server products. Many of these foreign high-tech companies have their operations in the Science and Technology park in Nanshan District or outside the core districts where labor and land are much cheaper. In the financial sector, China Merchants' Bank, one of the largest banks in China, has its headquarters in Shenzhen. Shenzhen City Commercial Bank, Ping An Insurance and Wal-Martmarker China are also based in the city.

In 2008, the GDP reached a record high of 780.65 billion yuan, an increase of 12.1% over 2007. Shenzhen's economic output is ranked fourth among the 659 Chinese cities (behind Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou), and it is comparable to that of a medium sized province in China. In 2008, Shenzhen's GDP per capita was 89,814 yuan (US$13,153), making it one of the richest of all Chinese cities.

Industrial zones

Main industrial zones in Shenzhen are Shenzhen Free Trade Zone and Shenzhen High-tech Industrial Park.

Shenzhen Stock Exchange

The Shenzhen Stock Exchange (SZSE) is a mutualized national stock exchange under the China Securities Regulatory Commission (the CSRC) that provides a venue for securities trading. A broad spectrum of market participants, including 540 listed companies, 35 million registered investors and 177 exchange members, create the market. Here buying and selling orders are designed to be matched in a fair, open and orderly market, through an automated system to create the best possible prices based on price-time priority. Trading volumes have been robust.

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.

China's securities market is undergoing fundamental changes. The implementation of the new securities law, company law, self-innovation strategy as well as the development of non-tradable share reform embodies enormous opportunities to the market. Adhering to the principle of "Regulation, Innovation, Cultivation and Service", the SZSE is focused on developing the Small and Medium Enterprises Board, while seeking a loose tier market.

The initial public offering (IPO) activity in Shenzhen stock exchange (SZSE) was suspended from September 2000 as the Chinese government pondered merging its bourses into a single exchange in Shanghai and launched a Nasdaq-style second board in Shenzhen aimed at private and technology companies.


View of Hua Qiang Bei road (Futian District) in Shenzhen, China
Shenzhen is home to the world's ninth tallest building, the Shun Hing Squaremarker (Diwang Building). Shenzhen has built 23 buildings over 200 metres, mostly in the Luohu and Futianmarker districts. The second tallest building in Shenzhen is SEG Plazamarker at a height of 356 meters (292 meters to roof-top). It is located in the commercial and shopping district of Hua Qiang Bei (华强北).

Shenzhen has some of the largest public projects in China. The International Trade Center (国贸), built in 1985, was the tallest building in China when built, and the Shun Hing building was also the tallest in Asia when it was built (still the tallest steel building in the world).

Shenzhen is also the site for many tall building projects. Some of the supertalls that have been either proposed or approved are well over 400 meters. The current tallest building under construction is the 439 metre tall Kingkey Finance Towermarker, which will be finished in 2010. Other proposed buildings would surpass the Kingkey Finance Tower's height by 2015.

Integration with Hong Kong

Hong Kong and Shenzhen have very 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 (HKG) website.

As of December 2007, there are six land crossing points on the boundary between Shenzhen and Hong Kong. From west to east these are Shenzhen Bay Port road crossing (opened 1 July 2007); Fu Tian Kou An to Lok Ma Chau rail connection linking Shenzhen Metro Line 4 to the MTR's East Rail Line Lok Ma Chau Spur Line (opened 15 August 2007); Huanggang to Lok Ma Chau road connection; Futian to Man Kam To road connection; Luohu to Lo Wu rail connection linking the MTR East Rail Line to Shenzhen Metro Line 1, Shenzhen Rail Station and Luohu in general; and the Shatoujiao to Sha Tau Kok road connection. Both of the rail connections require the passengers to cross the Shenzhen River on foot as there is no direct rail connection between the two cities, although the Hong Kong intercity trains to other mainland cities pass through Shenzhen without stopping.

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. 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, while Hong Kong port handled 23,000 teus/day during 2006, excluding transshipment trade.

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. 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.

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. 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.

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. 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 yet. 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.

Apart from the business and family trips, many visitors come from Hong Kong to Shenzhen for the shopping, where goods and services are assumed cheaper than those in Hong Kong. However, without coming prepared knowing the prices of specific items the goods may end up being far more expensive than in Hong Kong while others are only marginally cheaper, even after a long phase of negotiating.

The shopping mall most visited by day-tourists is Lo Wu Commercial City [12559], situated close Luohu border crossing. This contains an overwhelming array of beauty parlours and stores selling clothes, handbags (usually fake-designer), fabric, jewellery and electrical goods as well as many vendors of pirated software, DVDs, counterfeit goods and mobile phones. With the number of tourists, it is also a popular location for prostitution, drugs, pickpockets and begging. However, riding two stops on the Shenzhen Metro would bring them to Lao Jie Station [12560] for the Dongmenmarker [12561] shopping area, or five stops to Hua Qiang Bei, which are the shopping areas most favoured by locals.

The other reasons for Hong Kong tourists to visit Shenzhen are the restaurants from many provinces, usually at a cost of one quarter that of Hong Kong, and the genuine massage and beauty parlours at about one tenth the cost of Hong Kong.

Future integration plans

In Section 114(1) of the policy address on 10 October 2007, Donald Tsang, Hong Kong Chief Executive, stated:

Jointly developing a world-class metropolis with Shenzhen: In my Election Platform, I have put forward the vision of developing the Hong Kong-Shenzhen metropolis and undertaken to strengthen our co-operation.
My proposals met with positive responses from the Shenzhen authorities.
We share a common goal and have had some preliminary exchange of views.
Currently, we are discussing airport collaboration and the development of the Lok Ma Chau Loop.

On 21 November 2007, the Shenzhen Government officially endorsed this policy and included it in the Shenzhen planning blueprint for the period up to 2020. It was announced that Shenzhen mayor, Xu Zongheng, would visit Hong Kong in December 2007 to sign a metropolis agreement with the SAR government.

The plans were originally detailed by the Hong Kong non-governmental think tank, Bauhinia Research Foundation in August 2007, and covered such matters as financial services, hi-tech and high-end research and development, transport, environmental matters and ecology. It was claimed that Shenzhen-Hong Kong could be the third largest metropolis in the world in GDP terms by 2020, only behind New York Citymarker and Tokyomarker. The plan was also endorsed by the China Development Institute, a Shenzhen-based non-government think tank.


166 px
Situated in the Pearl River Deltamarker in China’s Guangdong Province, Shenzhen Portmarker is adjacent to Hong Kong. The city’s 260 km coastline is divided by 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 Estuarymarker and possesses a deep water harbour with superb natural shelters. It is about 20 sea miles from Hong Kong to the south and 60 sea miles 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. The eastern port area lies north of Dapeng Baymarker where the harbour is wide and calm and is regarded as the best natural harbour in South China.

Shenzhen handled a record number of containers in 2005, ranking as the world's fourth-busiest port, after rising trade increased cargo shipments through the southern Chinese city. Hutchison Whampoa Ltd, China Merchants Holdings (International) Co. and other operators of the port handled 16.2 million standard boxes last year, a 19 per cent increase.

Investors in Shenzhen are expanding to take advantage of rising volume. Hong Kong-based Hutchison, the world's biggest port operator, and its mainland Chinese partner plan to add six berths at Yantian by 2010, bringing the total to 15. The company also plans to pay its parent company HK$2.07 billion (US$265 million) for land at Shekou to expand its cargo business.

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.


Shenzhen can be reached by air, train, sea, or road.


Shenzhen Bao'an International Airportmarker is 35 kilometers from central Shenzhen and connects the city with many other parts of China, and serves some international destinations. It is normally cheaper for people based in Hong Kong to fly to Mainland Chinese destinations from Shenzhen rather than from Hong Kong, and it is usually cheaper for those based in southern Mainland China to fly out of Hong Kong to international destinations.


Shenzhen Railway Stationmarker is located at the junction of Jianshe Lu, Heping Lu and Renmin Nan Lu and provides links to different parts of China. There are frequent 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 Chaumarker border crossings take 43 minutes and 45 minutes respectively. Trains depart East Tsim Sha Tsui for Lo Wu every 6–8 minutes from 5:36am to 11:13pm. The border crossing at Lo Wu is open daily from 6:30am to midnight. The Lok Ma Chau border crossing closes around 10:30. The border crossing at Lok Ma Chau often is much less busy than the Lo Wu crossing and so Immigration lines are usually much shorter. Returning trains from Lo Wu to East Tsim Sha Tsui depart every 6–8 minutes from 6:38am to 12:30am. The Lok Ma Chau Trains run at 10 minute intervals.

There is another railway station located in Nanshan District, Shenzhen Xi, which is used for a small number of long distance trains, such as the one to Hefei.

The Shenzhen Metro system opened on 27 December 2004. It has two lines, one from Luohu (Lo Wu & Shenzhen railway stations) to Window of the Worldmarker, and the other from Futian kouan to Shaonian gong (youth palace). A new line is under construction and is expected to start service in the second half of 2010.


Shenzhen is also connected by fast ferries linking Shekou, on the west edge of the SEZ with Zhuhai, Macaumarker, Hong Kong International Airportmarker, Kowloonmarker, and Hong Kong Island.

Shenzhen has shorelines in its southwest and southeast and the city is home to some of the most popular and best beaches in China. Beaches like Dameisha and Xiaomeisha are often crowded with locals and tourists. One of the best beaches of China, the Xichong beach, is just one hour drive from downtown Shenzhen, and it still retains its age old natural beauties.


Since February 2003, the road border crossing at Huanggang and Lok Ma Chaumarker in Hong Kongmarker 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.

Taxis are metered and come in three colors. Red taxis may travel anywhere; green ones are restricted to outside the SEZ, and yellow ones are restricted to inside the SEZ.

There are also frequent bus and van services from Hong Kong International Airport to Huanggang and most major hotels in Shenzhen.

Tourist attractions

Shenzhen's major tourist attractions include the Chinese Folk Culture Village, the Window of the Worldmarker, Happy Valley, Splendid China, the Safari Park in Nanshan district, the Dameisha Promenade, Xiaomeisha Beach Resort in Yantian district, Zhongying Jie / Chung Ying Street, Xianhu Lake Botanical Garden, and Minsk Worldmarker. The city also offers free admission to a number of public parks including the Lianhuashan Park, Lizhi Park, Zhongshan Park and Wutongshan Park. Shenzhen offers a wide variety of cuisines that its numerous restaurants provide.

Some tourists, however, choose to stay in a largely expatriate and exotic residential community called Shekou, home to a large French cruise liner cemented into the ground called Sea World. Shekou was expanded and renovated in recent years, including claiming additional land from the sea.

Shenzhen's central music hall and library are located in the Shenzhen Cultural Center.

In recent years, the East Coast (shoreline) of Shenzhen has attracted more and more tourists, including backpackers. One of the most famous beaches is Xichong in the south of Dapeng Peninsula.


Colleges and universities

High Schools

International relations

Twin towns — Sister cities

Shenzhen is twinned with:

See also


  1. Shenzhen Government Online, Citizens' Life (Recovered from the Wayback Machine)
  2. Shenzhen Daily 13 June 2007
  5. top skylines
  6. " Contact us." Huawei. Retrieved on February 4, 2009.
  7. main
  8. GovHK - one-stop portal of the Hong Kong SAR Government / 香港政府一站通
  9. HKG Monthly Digest of Statistics
  10. HKG Traffic and Transport Digest
  11. HKG Cross Boundary Survey 2004
  12. HKG Shipping Statistics
  13. HKG Trade and Industry Statistics
  14. Hong Kong International Airport - Your Regional Hub with Worldwide Connections and Gateway to China
  15. HKG Cross Boundary Survey 1999 & 2003
  16. 2007-08 Policy Address - Policy Address
  17. SZ-HK metropolis on agenda
  18. Shenzhen 'worthy' partner for HK -

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