From Net to Tech: The Miracle of Shenzhen in China’s Opening Up

Shenzhen is the ultimate poster boy of China’s Opening Up policy. Δ Shenzhen was a fishing village before 1980. Once just a small fishing village named Bao’an with a tiny population of 30,000 people, Shenzhen, as its now called, has transformed into a vibrant, bustling and innovative city to rival its cousin in the Greater Bay Area, Hong Kong. Δ Deng Xiaoping visited Shenzhen in 1992. In 1980, Shenzhen was given Special Economic Zone (SEZ) status by then Chinese Vice Premier Deng Xiaoping, the chief architect of China’s reform and “Opening Up”. As an SEZ, Shenzhen was allowed to do business differently to other areas in China, such as trading and seeking investment from foreign companies. It quickly grew into a manufacturing and exporting giant, turning its port into one of the busiest in the world. Shenzhen is a city that’s always evolving and when China became a member of the World Trade Organization in 2001, the city changed direction and moved into high-tech, science companies with a focus on innovation. Δ Shenzhen now is called China’s Silicon Valley. This change has seen it rightly dubbed China’s Silicon Valley, with large tech companies making the city their home. Smartphone and digital manufacturer Huawei and Xiaomi have their head offices here, as does Tencent, the online gaming giant who invented WeChat. […]

Barren Hills Turn Green: A Yan’an Miracle

More than 80 years ago, American journalist Edgar Snow recorded the scene of the Loess Plateau in Red Star Over China. Apart from the desolate landscape, the poverty of the loess at the time made a deep impression on him. In the book, he lamented that “North Shaanxi was one of the poorest parts of China I have ever seen.” Snow added that, “A peasant could own as much as 100 mu of land and yet be a poor man.” Located in Northern Shaanxi, Yan’an was once the center of the Chinese revolution. However, poor natural conditions here as well as the poverty of the people were heartbreaking. In the past, the main source of income for the villagers in Yan’an was farming and sheepherding. Due to the poor quality of the land and serious soil erosion, people often worked painstakingly the entire year and yet gained only a little. Not only that, but the city remained caught in the vicious cycle of “the more land they cultivated, the more barren the land was, and the poorer the people were.” “Every family cultivated dozens of acres of land, but they might still be hungry,” described 53-year-old villager Yan Zhixiong Nangou Village, Wuqi County, Yan’an City at the time. At the end of the last century, total land area suffering from […]