China is an enormous country but the once-tiny city of Shenzhen tends to stand out. In 1980, Shenzhen was made the first special economic zone - a place where business is conducted without the oversight of the central government in Beijing. The purpose of these zones was to attract foreign business and technology. For Shenzhen, this launched an almost unfathomable change.
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Shenzhen is a border town, located on the southern tip of China's mainland on the eastern bank of the Pearl River. It is about 800 square miles and neighbors Hong Kong. In 1979, before it became a special economic zone, Shenzhen was fairly small with a population of around 30,000. In the 35 years since, that number has boomed to over 10 million.
Thanks to its special status, Shenzhen has a place amongst the most modern and innovative cities in the world. It is a powerful player in technology and business industries and is also a popular destination for travelers. UNESCO has declared it a City of Design and in 2010 the New York Times named it among their 31 must-see tourist destinations.
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Read more about Shenzhen:
The New York Times: 31 Places to Go in 2010
UNESCO: Creative Cities Network