Thanks to global megabrands such as Apple and Microsoft, Shenzhen is the largest tech manufacturing base in the world. It’s likely the phone or tablet that you’re holding – or the Kindle, PlayStation or Nintendo you use on a daily basis – gives you just one degree of separation from the city. This is the world’s newest Silicon Valley – gadget lovers should head straight to the Huaqiangbei Electronic Market, where you can buy everything needed to build a smartphone or computer from scratch (or wait while one is built for you). There are also incredible technological curios for sale, such as Apple products that run Android systems.
As well as technology, the city is a base for many home-grown multinational companies and national banks. In the central business district, located in the Futian neighbourhood, you’ll find gleaming skyscrapers such as the China Merchants Bank Tower, the twin buildings of the East Pacific Centre and the 599-metre Ping An Financial Centre – currently the world’s fourth highest building. UNESCO has awarded Shenzhen Creative City status thanks to its standing as one of China’s leading innovation and design centres, and there are thousands of graphic, architectural and fashion design companies within the city limits.
Business aside, Shenzhen’s influx of high-tech companies has brought with it a hunger for arts and culture, with new museums appearing all the time. These include an outpost of London’s world famous V&A Museum, which is part of Design Society – an arts and culture district on the Shekou Peninsula in western Shenzhen. Another popular space is OCT Loft, which was once an electronics factory. Today, it’s at the frontline of the city’s creative scene with art galleries, coffee shops, a design bookstore, live music venues, pretty gardens and open squares. The latest addition to the city’s cultural attractions is the Museum of Contemporary Art & Planning Exhibition.
The past may seem like a world away as you travel around Shenzhen, however between the skyscrapers you can still find traces of the original town. In these chengzhongcun or ‘villages in the middle of the city’, narrow alleyways are lined with buildings that sit within a handshake’s distance of one another and hawkers sell mouth-watering street food to workers who’ve come straight from some of the world’s most modern offices. The city’s continued growth puts these traditional areas under threat, so be sure to take a wander and fully appreciate the region’s roots.
Something you may not expect when visiting this area of the world is its beautiful beaches. A day by the sea is a great way to escape the bustle of the city and there are over 20 beaches along the coast of the Dapeng Peninsula to choose from. Popular stretches of sand include Jinshawan, dubbed Golden Sands Bay, from which you can enjoy views over towards Hong Kong Island; and Dameisha, a wide, sweeping bay backed by mountains. The latter is the closest to the heart of the city and therefore the busiest, especially at weekends.
Shenzhen is also known for its theme parks, which draw hordes of tourists. Window of the World showcases major attractions from across the globe, including 1:3 scale models of the Eiffel Tower, Grand Canyon and Taj Mahal. In the evening there are spectacular dance shows inspired by Chinese history, followed by fireworks. Elsewhere, the Splendid China & Chinese Folk Culture Village features scaled-down models of iconic Chinese sites like the Forbidden City, Terracotta Warriors and Great Wall of China.
Shenzhen is served by the ultra-modern Shenzhen Bao’an International Airport, located approximately 20 miles from the city centre. Alternatively, Hong Kong International Airport is just 30 miles to the south. Contact our team and we’ll arrange everything you need to charter a private jet to Shenzhen.