Category Archives: Cities

Shenzhen sees sharp slowdown in Q3

Something is going on in Shenzhen. The city has not yet released any reports on its economic performance in the first three quarters, yet provincial data show that the city’s GDP growth dropped sharply in Q3.

Private commentators have been reporting the provincial data today, many with alarmist analysis. This is rightly so: the 6.6% growth number recorded by Shenzhen for the first three quarters of this year follows 7.4% reported for the first six months. If accurate, that is an unprecedented quarterly slowdown.

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Top 10 Must-go Spots in Foshan

Foshan is a large city, with a registered population of more than 4 million, which is increasingly being integrated with Guangzhou. Even though it is highly urbanized, it is a lively, clean place, famous as the hometown of ceramic art, Cantonese opera, and martial arts. (Read our overview.) In March next year, the Guangfo Intercity Railway will open, bringing all of the major towns into close proximity to the Guangzhou South station, where the High-Speed Railway comes in from Hong Kong and Shenzhen. In the meantime, Foshan West Station (in the Chancheng District) is a good jumping-off place to start a visit. This is a place that is worth exploring if you are into temples, gardens, and the ancestral homes of Bruce Lee and Wong Fei-hung. There is also a collection of five major theme parks here in the Shunde district.

Following are our Top 10 recommendations.

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Hong Kong gets reform agenda rolling

American scholar Andrew Nathan has an interesting piece in Foreign Affairs summarizing what “insiders” say is Beijing’s approach to the crisis in Hong Kong. Though the presentation of this analysis fits too neatly into a US-centric worldview, it helps explain why the Hong Kong government is moving quickly to address the city’s dire shortage of housing: Because the central government believes the protests are being driven primarily by intolerable socio-economic conditions. Fix those, and the rest will take care of itself.

The logic has appeal. While Nathan’s sources are almost certainly wrong to suggest that the country’s senior leadership isn’t worried about addressing the political dimension of the protests, it makes sense to train attention and resources on fixing first what can be fixed easiest. Any capable government would be taking this approach.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that Beijing misunderstands where the protesters’ rage is coming from. The country’s leadership probably knows all too well that the crisis is not going to be fixed with bread alone. But it also likely understands that without a commitment to deep socio-economic reform, no other grievances can be addressed in a sustainable way. Fixing the land issue is about much more than bringing down the cost of living. It’s about changing the way people live.

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Exploring Dongguan – Top 10 Spots

Dongguan is noted for its manufacturing prowess, not its scenery. However, that is misleading. The city has been given a “National Excellence in Tourism” award, largely as a result of its historical relics and charming natural attractions. There is much to see and do here, and it’s a big place, so you need to plan your outings carefully. Here! (the magazine) is a good resource for events and listings of restaurants and bars. Following are our recommendations for the Top 10 must-go spots in Dongguan.
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Songshan Lake to get complex

Songshan Lake, the high-tech zone in Dongguan, is going upscale. Already the home of the Huawei R&D headquarters known as Ox Horn, which has a collection of European-style buildings and its own mini-railway, the district has been in need of a major commercial complex. It is getting one around the Songshan Lake North railway station, courtesy of China Resources Group, which makes its first foray into Dongguan with a large, mixed use project, Wan Xiang Hui. 

The project broke ground yesterday, Dongguan Daily reports. It is expected to be finished in three years, boasting offices, shops, hotels and apartments, covering an area of 44,100 sqm, with a total construction area of about 350,000 sqm. It consists of a podium with five floors above and one below ground, plus two towers at 240 meters and 130 meters high, respectively.

The station is a major future transport hub, with the Guangzhou-Huizhou Intercity Railway passing through, as well as Dongguan’s metro Lines 3 and 5, all of which are still under construction. 

Residents will likely especially appreciate the Wan Xiang Hui Square, which will feature a wide variety of modern dining and entertainment options. Songshan Lake is a beautiful area, but it does get a bit dull at night.

Exploring Guangzhou – Top 10 Spots

The provincial capital of Guangzhou is a megalopolis that combines old and new in fascinating ways. No matter if you are a history buff, or simply looking for place to spend a leisurely weekend, there are many fun and interesting options available. Here is a list of our top 10 must-go places. Please note that this is a big city, so planning your trip to each of these spots requires attention to transport details. Klook.com is our favorite, and they have affordable chauffeured tour options. You can do day-trips, now that high-speed train links make it easier, but we wouldn’t suggest it: better to take your time with hotel bookings and stay at least one night – or more.

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Jiangmen: Mission to restore faded glory

The municipality of Jiangmen has a fascinating history, and to say it has “been through the wars” would be an understatement. Like most of the Greater Bay Area, it has had its ups and downs. Yet its history is unique as a once-proud node on the Maritime Silk Road, a home to many overseas Chinese who traded throughout Southeast Asia in the days before Hong Kong and Canton became the powerhouses they are today. Once one of the region’s richest areas, today the GBA’s westernmost city is, like the easternmost city of Huizhou, finding itself playing catch-up to the rest in economic development.

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Zhuhai, Shenzhen launch new promos

On the eve of their 39th anniversary (officially) as China’s first special economic zones, both Shenzhen and Zhuhai have launched concerted efforts to portray themselves as “international” cities. These are noble efforts, and the slick videos they have produced are well worth watching.

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