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Shenzhen (深圳): top things to do in the high-tech city of China

Shenzhen(深圳) is known as the Silicon Valley of China. Read this post to find out what to do in this interesting city near Hong Kong.

shenzhen municipality by night

Until the late 1970s, Shenzhen (深圳) was a small Chinese town bordering Hong Kong with less than 300,000 inhabitants. In 1979, the Chinese government decided to start an experiment and declared Shenzhen the country’s first Special Economic Zone (or SEZ). The plan was clearly to rival the economic power of Hong Kong by undertaking a series of reforms without destabilizing the political and social system in the rest of China.

What are the results after about 40 years? The metropolitan area has over 18 million inhabitants, it’s home to one of China’s three Stock Exchange Markets (the other two are in Hong Kong and Shanghai), and it’s known as China’s Silicon Valley because of the many Hi-Tech factories.

If you also plan to visit Hong Kong, don’t miss my travel guide.

Shenzhen has also become one of the most developed cities in the entire nation. The incredible growth of recent years has created a new class of wealthy people who can afford almost everything.

stock market in shenzhen

This sudden growth has also had a negative impact. Shenzhen is one of the most expensive cities in China. Renting a house, especially near Hong Kong, can be as expensive as in New York (here is my five-day travel guide). Large companies that produce mobile phones and computers have created hundreds of thousands of jobs, but the workers’ conditions are often not very good. Being a completely new city means not many places of historical interest.

Shenzhen is known as one of the top 20 high-tech cities in the world and definitely one of the most modern in China. Despite its incredible development, it’s not a very polluted city. In short, Shenzhen is the perfect representation of modern China.

How to get to Shenzhen, how to get around, and where to stay

hong kong to shenzhen

There are three ways to get to Shenzhen:

Getting around in Shenzhen is easy. Like all Chinese cities, taxis are relatively cheap. The other option is the subway or the public buses if you can read a bit of Chinese. Using public buses in China can be difficult for those unfamiliar with Chinese. A good APP is Baidu Ditu, which allows you to calculate the route using public transport. It’s the Chinese counterpart of Google Maps, but you obviously won’t need a VPN.

As far as accommodation is concerned, everything depends on the area of the city in which you want to stay. I always recommend booking a hotel on while traveling in China. There are several 5-star hotels in Shenzhen, and the prices are not too high compared to Europe and the USA.

Shenzhen: the city of technology

smartphone stores in China shenzhen

Shenzhen is not a tourist city: there are no natural places to visit, nor natural wonders such as in Zhangjiajie or Yangshuo (here is my travel guide), nor ancient temples, but it can be the gateway to China, and there are still many interesting things to see.

Some of them are the village of Dafen, Window of The World, Splendid China & Chinese Folk Culture Village, and the incredible Sea World Plaza, where you will find a real cruise ship in the center of a square. In the evening there is also an interesting show of dancing fountains.

shenzhen fountains night at night

One of the main reasons to visit Shenzhen is to buy some super-discounted technological gadgets since they are made there.

There are several malls where you can find everything: on the lower floors are sold the individual transistors and resistances, and on the upper floors, everything else, from action cameras to smartphones, from RAM memories to hard drives, and so forth. Anything a nerd mind can imagine can be found in Shenzhen.

I visited the HQ Mart near the MTR stop at Huaqian Rd Station on line 1 of the subway. To get there, take exit A of the subway and keep walking for about 5 minutes until you see the mall.

Remember that these malls close pretty early, around 5:00 pm.

hq mart shenzhen

Here are some tips if you want to visit one of these Mall in Shenzhen:

  • Very few people can speak English, so it’s a good idea to download a dictionary
  • To get a good deal, you’ll have to bargain.
  • Make sure you don’t buy a fake smartphone. If the price is too low, there is something wrong.
  • Very few stores accept credit cards, so bring enough cash with you. In the worst case, there is an ATM outside the mall.
  • Remember that the internet is censored in China. To access blocked sites, use a good VPN (free VPNs don’t work). I use this VPN.
  • Don’t miss my travel guide to China.

That is all. If you have other doubts or questions, don’t hesitate to contact me. Here are other articles about China. Here is an article about crossing the border between China and Vietnam.

2 thoughts on “Shenzhen (深圳): top things to do in the high-tech city of China”

  1. Zi Hong

    There are many of natural attractions in Shenzhen. I had been living for over 3 years there. I used to spend my weekends going to the beaches, waterfalls and the many parks they have in Shenzhen. All of those have easy access with public transportation.

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