China is classified as a developing nation, however the modernity of its tier-1 mega cities (Shanghai, Shenzhen, Guangzhou and Beijing) often exceeds that of most major cities in western countries including aspects of London, New York and Los Angeles.
China has been rapidly modernizing and growing since opening itself up to foreign trade and investments in 1979. It is now home to the world’s largest population of approximately 1.4 billion people, and is the world’s second largest economy after the US.
The cities in China are divided up by ‘tiers’ based on GDP of the city, population, access to education, developed infrastructure, technology, etc. The tier 1 cities are ones which tourists would generally visit and hear about and offer the accommodation and comforts that suit Western travelers. These cities boast over 300 Michelin star restaurants and top hotel chains in it such as the Ritz Carton, Four Seasons and the Shangri-La as well as many luxury boutique hotels.
Specific to Shenzhen, Forbes magazine in 2018 named Shenzhen the most innovative city in China and Lonely Planet Publications ranked it to be second on the list of best destinations across the globe. Its nickname is the ‘Silicon Valley of China’ as it’s the most advanced among smart cities in China (according to Chinese Academy of Social Sciences). Shenzhen is the first city in China to have 5G interconnectivity and this new generation of wireless networks throughout it’s borders.
In November 2019, Shenzhen opened phase 1 of the Shenzhen World Exhibition and Convention center which will be the largest exhibition and convention in the world with over 5.38M sq ft of exhibition space. It is also a premier green and smart venue. The center took less than 3 years to build. It is said that this centre has set a new global standard of excellence. By comparison, Nuremberg, which is home to the largest toy fair in the world and the Javitts Center in New York which is where the largest North American toy fair is held both have a total area of 1.8 m sq ft by comparison
There have been considerations to moving trade shows and fairs to this world class venue and we have already seen the Toy & Edu China, Baby & Stroller China and Licensing China hosted successfully in Shenzhen World in early Aug 2020. Across the three, a total of 61,553 visitors attended and 1,321 exhibitors according to Messe Frankfrut.
So if there was any questions on whether China, specifically Shenzhen or any of the tier 1 cities in China are modern and can accommodate western guests, this article put those questions to bed.