April 14, 2016
Shenzhen is one of the major cities within the Guangdong Province. Only two hours away from Hong Kong, the city has established its presence as the most prominent Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in Mainland China.
SEZ’s employ a free-market infrastructure that draws in foreign investors and domestic firms for their flexibility and reach. Incentives including lower tax rates and laxer government regulations have enticed tech giants, like Huawei, to China’s “Window to the World”.
Here is a small glimpse of Shenzhen from a traveler’s perspective…
You live life on the fast track—Shenzhen City takes pride in its record economic development, but not without a boom in population. Its 2,220km2 land area holds 18 million residents, with only 10% being local.
The cost of living here is very high. Paired with the steep expense of education, most families choose to have only one child in spite of the new policy that permits couples to two children.
Shenzhen used to be a Fishing Village and was established in 1986—its success is greatly owed to Deng Xiaoping, whose vision brought robust economic reforms to China.
About 36 years ago, people from Shenzhen would illegally go to Hong Kong to earn a higher living (daily income went from 17 Cents to 70 Hong Kong Dollars).
Now with the city as the top SEZ, Shenzhen’s RMB is stronger than the HKD.
The city is famed for its shopping culture like that found in Louhu Shopping Center.
If you plan on going here, make sure to pack light and wear comfortable, loose clothing. Shenzhen is quite humid and the air-conditioners in some areas of the center are quite weak.
You can find almost anything under the sun at Louhu—from jewelry, bags, electronics, food, toys, clothes, and pharmaceuticals.
Some vendors will sell items nearly 3 times their original price. Haggle fiercely, my friends!
According to our guide, tourists from all over Asia go here to shop for high quality designer knockoffs. Some vendors sell these knockoffs as genuine, so buy at your own risk.
We enjoyed our visit to Louhu even if the experience was slightly claustrophobic. If you’re a shopping addict who loves bargains, then this would a nice place to cross off your bucket list.
Another great place to cross of that bucket list should be the Splendid China Folk Culture Village.
This unique theme park allows tourists to experience the history, culture and attractions of various regions of China.
You can dress up in costumes from different eras, get your photo taken, and printed for RMB100.
Note: if you don’t want to pay that much, ask if you can get your travel partners to take your photo instead!
We love the park’s extreme attention to detail and authenticity.
If you are lucky enough, you may even catch local performances within the attractions like this Beijing Opera House.
Note: just check the schedules on the signage nearby.
Splendid China provided us the necessary R&R away from the city.
The gardens around the park are impressive and Instagram-worthy!
There are so many flowers that you can smell them no matter where you are.
Because of the immense size of the park, other tourists can opt for the train shuttle service…
…or explore in style via horse carriage.
Tourists may also rent a small kart near the entrance to make travel easier.
The most interesting attraction we saw was the Leshan Giant Buddha. At 71 meters tall, a Chinese Monk sculpted the Buddha in 713 during the Tang Dynasty. It is said that he was built to calm the violent rivers beneath his feet.
Note: this is just a very large scale model.
Small, plastic people on the figure’s feet are provided for scale. Did you know that there is enough room for a seated person on the Buddha’s smallest toenail?
You can explore the other impressively detailed dioramas and scaled replicas around the park…
…or go to the photo-op friendly areas for tourists!
Don’t miss out on the incredible Three Gorges of the Yangtze River scaled model. The Yangtze River, or Cháng Jiāng, is the longest river in Asia and third longest in the world!
In spite of the warm weather, our experiences around park made us want to ditch the replicas to see the real thing!
Aside from its fascinating shopping culture and gorgeous theme parks, Shenzhen is also home to some of the largest tech firms worldwide—namely Huawei.
Huawei provides tech solutions to almost 1/3 of the world! In fact, you may have seen their brand name on your LTE Dongles, routers, and other telecommunications devices from companies like Smart Communications.
Huawei aims to build a “better connected world” through ubiquitous broadband, agile innovation, and inspired experience.
In short, they want to build systems to keep up with the demands that come with large data streaming and transfer.
As a customer-centered company, Huawei continuously finds ways to improve user experience and value.
We are impressed by their level of commitment to Research & Development, making them one of the largest R&D companies in the world.
When most people think, Huawei, they think of their high-tech smartphones. However, the company’s smartphones are only a small fraction of what Huawei is capable of.
From health-oriented software…
…high speed internet solutions…
…virtual reality systems…
…highly intuitive interactive rigs…
…unique intercommunication modules…
…to safe city surveillance and tracking frameworks…
…Huawei has an incredible arsenal of tech-based solutions to meet modern-day demands.
Technology has greatly contributed to the development and strong economic progress to cities like Shenzhen and Chengdu. ICT, or Information Communication Technology, benefits communities by making the world a little smaller, and more connected.
OAP sends a big thank you to the Huawei Team for sponsoring this trip and for letting us experience splendid China!
Live an Awesome Life,
Team Our Awesome Planet
Disclosure: Our China Trip was courtesy of Huawei. We wrote this article with our biases, opinions, and insights. Read Our Awesome Planet Complete Disclosure Policy here.
P.S. Let us know any awesome places in Shenzhen that the OAP Team can explore next time around!