About Shenzhen City

Introduction

Shenzhen is one of the most beautiful cities in China; more important, it is where our factories locate. 

The once fishing villages, Shenzhen symbolizes a great success of China's economic reform lead by former leader Deng Xiaoping, who hand-picked Shenzhen as the first Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in 1979, an experiment aiming to attract domestic and foreign investments, especially from its neighboring city, Hong Kong, then British ruled important financial and trade center.
 

 

Shenzhen view01

Slideshow 1: General views
Slideshow 2: Attractions
It was in fact the first time that China opened its gate to the outside world after 30 years of self closeness. With a series of government incentives including tax exemption and favorable infrastructure, plus low labor and material costs, the Shenzhen SEZ indeed poised great opportunities to anyone who had resources.
Investors flushed in and Shenzhen has since become the fastest grown city and one of the largest manufacturing bases in the world. In addition to capital, foreign investors have also brought in modern technologies and management concepts, which make Shenzhen a world class industrial zone as well. CHL map

Location

Bordered with Hong Kong, Shenzhen situates in the southern coastal area of Guangdong province. It is 160 kilometers (100 miles) away from Guangzhou City, and 35 kilometers (22 miles) from Hong Kong. It covers an area of 2,020 square kilometers (780 square miles).
 

 

China map
The Shenzhen Municipality comprises six districts: Luohu (罗湖), Futian (福田), Nanshan (南山), Yantian (盐田), Bao'an (Baoan, 宝安), and Longgang (龙岗).
  • Luohu. Covering an area of 78.89 km² in the center of Shenzhen and adjacent to Hong Kong, Luohu is the financial and trade center.
  • Futian. 78.04 km², Futian is where the city government locates.
  • Nanshan. Nanshan is on the west of the city, an area of 164.29 km², it is the home for many high-tech companies.
  • Yantian. Yantian (75.68 km²) is known for transportation, with Yantian Port the second largest deepwater container terminal in China and fourth largest in the world.
  • Bao'an and Longgang. These are two largest districts, with Baoan (712.92 km²) to the northwest and Longgang (844.07 km²) to the northeast, and where many manufacturers locate. They are actually located outside of the inner city of Shenzhen. 

Transportation

You can travel to Shenzhen by airplane, train, boat, or car.

Due to its proximity to Hong Kong and Guangzhou, first of all, Shenzhen Airport is basically a domestic airport (with few international flights), meaning that you can't fly directly into Shenzhen from overseas; but you can use it to connect to other parts of China.

It also means that, for visitors from outside of China, you would first fly to either Hong Kong airport or Guangzhou airport, then go to Shenzhen from there. There are several options going from either airport to Shenzhen. 

Going from Guangzhou Airport to Shenzhen

If you have a friend who can pick you up with a car, Guangzhou airport is an easy choice because you simply check out and meet and go with your friend from there. 

Otherwise you can take a bus (sometimes there are tour buses at the airport), or a taxi to a bus station or train station, then take a couch (long distance bus) or train from there to Shenzhen. Unless you speak Chinese or have someone accompanying, however, these can be challenging choices.

Going from Hong Kong airport to Shenzhen

Bus. From Hong Kong airport, you can get on a bus to cross the HK-Shenzhen border (Huanggang) and to enter Shenzhen. The merit of this option is that the bus is non-stop and driver usually speaks English so you can't be lost. 

The problem is, despite the fact that Hong Kong has returned to China's sovereignty since 1997, it remains a self-governed district with Customs borders separating from mainland China. It means whenever you cross a border, you have to go through two Customs. The difficult part is that when you enter into Shenzhen, you are required to carry all of your luggage through the China Customs gate; likewise, when you leave Shenzhen and enter into Hong Kong, you are required to carry your luggage through the HK Customs gate, before continuing onto the bus.

It takes about one and half hours and HK$100 (as of December 2005) going from the HK airport to the Shenzhen border, which is opened 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Taxi. You can also take a bus or taxi from your hotel in Hong Kong to cross Shenzhen border. Just consult with the hotel for assistance.

Ferry. There are several ferries connecting HK International Airport, Kowloon, and Hong Kong Island to Shenzhen (Shekou port). The ferry trip will take about one hour to Shekou border. From there you can take a car, taxi, or bus to your destination. Click here to find the ferry schedule.

Train. You may also take train from Hong Kong's KCRC East Tsim Sha Tsui (TST) station to Shenzhen's Luohu border. It takes approximately 40 minutes and HK$36.3 (as of December 2005). Trains run from 5:30am to 11:00pm in the interval of 3 to 8 minutes and the border crossing is open daily from 6:30am to midnight.

In both options above, however, you will have to first take a taxi to the Ferry or Train station, which shouldn't be difficult.

HK map

HK Rail System

Transportation within Shenzhen City

Once you cross the Shenzhen border, you should have someone to meet you there or at least good direction to go to your destination. If you are on your own, try to ask the hotel you are staying if they can pick you up from the border.

Shenzhen launched its subway system on 28th December 2004. The metro has two lines, one from Luohu (Luohu & Shenzhen railway stations) to Window of the World, and the other from Huanggang to a point further north. 

It is also convenient to travel in the Shenzhen city by bus or taxi, just be sure to have your destination written down. There are lots of bus routes in Shenzhen with which you can go almost anywhere in the city. Bus fares are usually around 2 to 8 Yuan of RMB. Taxis are metered, with a starting fare of RMB12.5 for first 3 kilometers, and RMB2.4 for each additional kilometer. Bus and taxi fares may change over time.

Weather

Shenzhen's annual average temperature is 22.4 Celsius degree, with the lows around 10 Celsius degree in January and humid highs of 33 Celsius degree in August. 

Average Data Jan Feb Mar Apr May June July Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Average High (F) 65/69 65/69 71/74 77/81 83/87 86/89 88/92 88/91 86/89 82/85 75/79 68/72
Average High (C) 18/20 18/20 21/23 25/27 28/30 30/32 31/33 31/33 30/32 28/30 24/26 20/22
Average Low (F) 50/53 52/56 58/62 65/69 71/75 75/78 76/79 75/79 73/77 67/71 60/63 52/56
Average Low (C) 10/12 11/13 14/16 18/20 22/24 24/26 24/26 24/26 23/25 20/22 15/17 11/13


Currency

China's official currency is Yuan or RMB. You can exchange foreign currency for RMB in airports, hotels and banks. Exchange rate is usually lower in airport and hotel than in bank. 

Most star-rated hotels, department stores, large restaurants, and airports accept credit card payment.

Shopping

Due to its proximity to HK and openness, Shenzhen is an excellent place for shopping, with wide selection of merchandises, both domestic and imported, brand name and non-brand. As a general practice, you can bargain with small merchandisers, but not with large stores like department stores; but no harm to ask. 

You would not be surprised to see large foreign retailers and foodchains in Shenzhen, such as Wal-Mart, BestBuy, Carrefour, McDonald's, PizzaHut, Starburst. 

Following are price reference for some of the expenses in Shenzhen: 

(Approximate exchange rate: USD 1 = RMB 7, as of Dec. 2007)
Taxi with a starting fare of RMB12.5 for 3 kilometers, and RMB2.4 for each additional kilometer.
Bus Approximately between RMB 2-8.
Metro Approximately between RMB 2-5.
Coke RMB 1.9/can (Coca-Cola & Pepsi-Cola)
Beer RMB 5.5/can (Heineken), RMB3.2/can (Tsingtao)
Bottled Water RMB7.5/500ml bottle (Evian), RMB1.6/400ml bottle (Watson's)
Toothpaste Between RMB 6.7 and 11.8 (Colgate)
McDonald's RMB 19.8 (BigMac Combo)

Attractions

Apart from shopping, Shenzhen has many tourist attractions, including:

  1. Window of the World (世界之窗)
  2. Splendid China (锦绣中华微缩景区)
  3. China Folk Culture Villages (中国民俗文化村)
  4. Happy Valley (欢乐谷)
  5. Safari Park of Shenzhen (深圳野生动物园)

People

Approximately 11 million people live in Shenzhen, compared to about 30,000 in 1980 when the fishing bay was opened up as the country's first Special Economic Zone.

Built on the back of economic trade with Hong Kong and the rest of the world, Shenzhen has attracted migrants from all over China, people who continue to flock to the city seeking wealth and to live a new life.

The city has increasingly attracted people from other countries as well; most of them are for business, but a few simply settle for living.

As a migrant city, Shenzhen's main official language is Mandarin, which is widely spoken and understood by everybody. This offers a great opportunity for learners to practice their Chinese and to learn about the variety of customs and cultures in China.