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Introduction to Shenzhen
Shenzhen is situated in the southern province of Guangdong, which borders Hong Kong. Guangdong is China’s most affluent province. Its inhabitants, the Cantonese, are renowned for their unique dialect, excellent cuisine, and business acumen. Cantonese culture is  ever-present in overseas Chinese communities as the people of Guangdong emigrated in large numbers throughout the 19th century.
 
Although present day Shenzhen is a recent phenomenon, there has been some form of settlement in this area for thousands of years. During the late Ming dynasty Shenzhen, or Bao’an County as it was then known, was a small border town. Its name means "deep ditch," which is probably a reference to the narrow, yet deep rivers that are common in the area. It could also allude to the deep ditches that traverse paddy fields.
  
In 1980, Shenzhen became China’s first Special Economic Zone (SEZ) and its fate  took a dramatic turn. Deng Xiaoping, the unofficial patron saint of Shenzhen, decided to put his ideas on economic reform to the test in what was then a rural area, and the results were truly remarkable. The city expanded swiftly. Infrastructure appeared at a lightning pace and skyscrapers shot up at "Shenzhen speed"  -- three floors per day. Within the first 15 years the industrial revenue of the city increased a thousand-fold.
  
Shenzhen’s fortunes are inextricably linked to its geographical location. Bordering the Hong Kong SAR (Special Administrative Region), it functions as a pseudo-gateway for the world’s fastest growing economy. Shenzhen brings in more in export revenue than any other city in China, and its largest international trading partner is Hong Kong. Consequently, thousands of Hong Kong businesses have moved or expanded their operations into Shenzhen. Hong Kong’s residents have now even begun to cross the border to simply shop, eat and drink. Still others even live in Shenzhen and commute to work in Hong Kong each morning. This high-level economic integration has fueled speculation about future possibilities of administrative integration, but for now the two cities remain separate yet closely linked
 
Shenzhen’s economic fame has drawn millions of migrants from China’s hinterland. The city captures the imaginations of the rich and the poor, the ambitious and the desperate. Everyday, newly arrived hopefuls can be seen stepping off trains and long-distance buses, eager to carve out their proverbial slice of the pie. In the meantime, Shenzhen is moving away from an economy heavily based on textiles, light-industry and services and pushing itself into the high-tech sector. The phenomenal success of the last 25 years shows no sign of waning. For Shenzhen, history has only begun. 
 
Being one of China’s wealthiest as well as one of its youngest cities, its existence is a true reflection of the extent of the economic metamorphosis that China has been experiencing since the 1980s. Where there was a small fishing village 25 years ago, a metropolis of 10 million people and growing now stands. From the laid-back resort feel of Shekuo to the teeming hustle and bustle of Dongmen, Shenzhen is both glitzy and seedy at the same time. Arguably, there is nowhere where the excesses of rapid economic change that are gripping China, with the resultant rampant consumerism and extremes of wealth and poverty, are more evident. 
 
Locals will sometimes complain that the city’s cultural attractions don’t match up to its status as a major economic hub. It is true that Shenzhen has by no stretch of the imagination next to near the cultural draws of China’s older cities. This lack of culture, however, is somewhat made up for by its tremendous energy and spirit, which derive from the diversity of its population, 90 percent of whom comes from other parts of the country. The full plethora of China’s accents and dialects can be heard on the streets of Shenzhen, and visitors are able to enjoy the culinary delights of every corner of this country in local restaurants. The city’s migrant population injects it with an industrious vigor that is almost palpable in its lively shops, restaurants and clubs, which stay open and busy late into the night. 
 
This "spirit"  is easily lost on travelers who pass through Shenzhen on their way to other destinations. At first glance the city may not hold much appeal. However, if you venture away from the train station and explore its streets and alleys, you might just discover, behind the glow of the neon, the plush shopping malls, and the unabashed commercialism, a unique city is taking shape.