Shenzhen is located in the south of Guangdong Province, its southern districts hugging the Hong Kong border. On the map, the SEZ forms a long narrow ribbon of 49 km from Mirs Bay in the east to the mouth of the Pearl River in the west. Most of Shenzhen is within 25 km of the Hong Kong border. The city area is 2,020 sq. km. 780 square miles.
You will often hear people referring to inside the zone or outside the zone. Because, originally, only a small proportion of the city was actually within the Special Economic Zone. This distinction no longer legally exists but it is still in people’s minds.
A mountain range separates the former area of the Special Economic Zone SEZ area from the Bao’an and Longgang districts and the urban area is flat, with main roads laid out with geometric precision from east to west and north to south. The former Zone area is richer and more urban than the rest of Shenzhen.
When the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone was founded in 1979, it was envisaged as an area where experimental economic and social policies could be tested. Its experimental nature meant that its administration was kept strictly separate. A 130-kilometre Administrative Border separated the non-SEZ part of the city and the rest of China. In the early days of the Zone, eight checkpoints ensured that only people with Shenzhen permits, or hukous, and visitors with proper documentation could enter Shenzhen. Several former checkpoints still stand rather desolately but they no longer have any administrative function and the Zone border fence is a popular hiking destination.
THE FOUR CENTRAL DISTRICTS: LUOHU, FUTIAN, NANSHAN AND YANTIAN LUOHU
Luohu in the centre was the traditional entry point for visitors arriving by train from Hong Kong. The Luohu area goes from Wutong Mountain in the East to Hongling Road in the west borders Futian. In the south Luohu borders Hong Kong’s New Territories and in the north it shares a common border with Bao’an in the west and Longgang in the east.
Luohu used to be the main city area but this has now moved westwards to Futian. It remains a busy downtown area with hotels, restaurants, shops and edgy nightlife. The colourful street life, bustling crowds and abundance of ‘eat streets’ are reminiscent of Hong Kong before the advent of office towers and super malls. Luohu is also home to many beautiful parks, particularly around the Shenzhen Reservoir in the east of the district.
The central area of Futian is the growing financial and government district. Futian extends from Hongling Road in the east to Overseas Chinese Town OCT on the border with Nanshan in the west and from the Shenzhen River and Shenzhen Bay in the south to Bijia Mountain and Lianhua Mountain in the north.
Futian is a fast-growing area for office-workers. It has landscaped gardens and modern malls, five-star hotels, upmarket restaurants and luxury housing complexes. Clean modern buildings and tree-lined streets replace the bustle and crowds of Luohu, here you can see how Shenzhen’s professional classes live.
Located in the west, Nanshan is home to Shenzhen University, the high-tech industry area and Shekou. To the eastern side of Nanshan lies Shenzhen Bay and Futian and on the northern and western side is Bao’an and the mouth of the Pearl River.
Yantian, home to some of Shenzhen’s best beaches, also includes Wutong Mountain, at 900 metres, Shenzhen’s tallest mountain. It is in the east of the SEZ and extends from Wutong Mountain to Mirs Bay. Yantian is also the home of Yantian Container Port, which, when you add in the Shekou port, combine together to make Shenzhen home to one of China’s and the world’s largest and busiest container ports.
THE OUTER DISTRICTS: LONGGANG AND BAO’AN LONGGANG
Located on the northeastern side of the city, Longgang starts in the east at Daya Bay and extends to the border with Bao’an in the west. To the north and east are Shenzhen’s neighbouring cities of Dongguan and Huizhou and to the south is Mirs Bay. It includes the beautiful beaches of the Dapeng Peninsula. Some of the world’s biggest electronics companies are headquartered in this area.
In the western part of the city and on the north of the SEZ border, Bao’an has an area of 733 sq. metres. Shenzhen Airport is located here. Bao’an goes from the Luo Tian reservoir in the north to the mouth of the Pearl River in the South West. Bao’an extends from the Nantou SEZ checkpoint in the east to the Pearl River in the west and the border with neighbouring Dongguan City in the north.
THE OTHER OUTER DISTRICTS PING SHAN NEW DISTRICT 2009 DA PENG NEW DISTRICT 2011 GUANG MING NEW DISTRICT 2007
LONG HUA NEW DISTRICT 2011