It wasn’t until Deng Xiaoping visited the city in 1980, however that the place really took off. Named one of four Special Economic Zones (SEZ), Shenzhen quickly ramped up its pace of development, often having a “growth at any cost” attitude.
While this turned a village into a city of 13 million people (no one knows for sure how many people live in Shenzhen, not even the government, because of the constant influx of migrant workers), it didn’t do much for the environment. Many days of the year in Shenzhen are overcast, not with clouds, but with a blanket of polluted haze.
Still, it’s an interesting city, and you could do a lot worse living in China. There is a world-class Metro system that is constantly adding lines. When I first moved here in 2008 there were only two lines, and they didn’t do me much good living in the district of Nanshan. Since then, however, they’ve expanded and I now take the Metro to work everyday.
As far as cleanliness goes, it’s not like what I was used to in the US. But again, I’ve heard many people say how other cities are a lot dirtier than Shenzhen. I do boil my water, and recommend that you do as well.
And whatever you do, don’t go swimming in Shenzhen Bay. There’s probably enough oil in there to lower the crude prices in the US by a few pennies at least.
Thinking about Moving to Shenzhen?
There are lots of great opportunities for would-be ESL teacher wanting to teach in China, and Shenzhen is a city that you will definitely get top-dollar in. If you want to learn more about the city, check out some of these good sites:
Wikipedia Article on Shenzhen
Shenzhen Stuff, a Great Site for Expats
The Shenzhen Daily, the City’s English Newspaper