Some Westerners may be familiar with SHENZHEN as the global centre of iPod production, but the city’s role in determining China’s technology boom ensures that it’s well known to all its countrymen: it was in this one-time fishing village that China’s modern “economic miracle” was born. Today, the city’s gleaming skyscrapers – and ongoing construction – are testament to a continued success, as is the daily flow of thousands of commuters across the border, not just from Shenzhen to Hong Kong, but increasingly in the opposite direction. This doesn’t necessarily mean there’s much of interest to the casual visitor: the much-vaunted shopping is in decline, though a decent eating scene remains alongside a downright border-town seediness in areas – an atmosphere compounded by pushy touts, beggars and pickpockets.

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