December 19, 2011

Reminiscing Asia (2): standing in the fog in Shenzhen

Foggy Shenzhen
Originally uploaded by macchi.

Last year I was in Beijing for a few days, and wanted to see at least a little bit of a new part of China. So, I flew to Guangzhou to tour Guangdong for a day with a colleague. Guangdong is a province which is part of the Pearl River Delta, the most important economic region in China. A LOT of the things in your home will have been produced here (or components of it are).

We took a whirlwind tour of the area, and my colleague had chosen the various stops to show me the extremes of Chinese development. Shenzhen, for example - which is where the above picture is taken. A town that was barely a fishing village in the late '70s and has grown to a city with over 10 million inhabitants in just over 30 years.

Starting out as a Special Economic Zone for a wide range of production facilities, it has now moved away from the very labour intensive production to high tech and innovative production. It is also home to some of the countries best known high tech companies, such as ZTE, BYD, Huawei to name only a few.

So, why this picture in my series of Asian moments? We were standing here with a group of people on an urban development tour, and an architect from OMA was explaining their current project, the Shenzhen Stock Exchange on the other side of where I was taking the picture. It was very foggy - or maybe part pollution? Many Chinese cities, including Beijing, are renowned for the levels or air pollution. But the speed at which everything is still being built and developing is enormous. Very impressive. And this isn't even the fastest growing region in China. You'd have to go much further inland and I'm sure the amount of construction cranes will be double there. That feeling of evercontinuing development, construction, etc is what has stuck with me though and why this picture is here.

Later on that day we visited the other part of Chinese development, the South China Mall. Which made the day all the more fascinating.

[it may seem as if I only know Asia through work, but much of the other stuff was in the pre-digital camera!]

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