Shenzhen (Chinese: 深圳) is a major city in the south of Southern China's Guangdong Province, situated immediately north of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. The area became China's first—and one of the most successful—Special Economic Zones (SEZs). It currently also holds sub-provincial administrative status, with powers slightly less than a province. According to the 2010 National Census, Shenzhen is the tenth most populous city in mainland China with a population of 10.35 million.
Shenzhen's modern cityscape is the result of the vibrant economy made possible by rapid foreign investment since the institution of the policy of "reform and opening" establishment of the SEZ in late 1979, before which it was only a small village. Both Chinese citizens and foreign nationals have invested enormous amounts of money in the Shenzhen SEZ. More than US$30 billion in foreign investment has gone into both foreign-owned and joint ventures, at first mainly in manufacturing but more recently in the service industries as well. Shenzhen is now considered one of the fastest-growing cities in the World.
Human habitation in Shenzhen dates back to ancient times. The earliest archaeological remains so far unearthed are shards from a site at Xiantouling on Mirs Bay, dating back to 5000 BC. From the Han Dynasty (third century BC) onwards, the area around Shenzhen was a center of the salt monopoly, thus meriting special Imperial protection. Salt pans are still visible around the Pearl River area to the west of the city and are commemorated in the name of the Yantian container terminal (盐田, meaning “salt fields”).
Shenzhen's major tourist attractions include the Chinese Folk Culture Village, the Window of the World, Happy Valley, Splendid China, the Safari Park in Nanshan district, the Dameisha Promenade, Xiaomeisha Beach Resort in Yantian district, Zhongying Jie/Chung Ying Street, Xianhu Lake Botanical Garden, and Minsk World. The city also offers free admission to a number of public parks including People's Park, Lianhuashan Park, Lizhi Park, Zhongshan Park, and Wutongshan Park.
The OCT East development in Yantian district is also an events hotspot, featuring the Ecoventure Valley and the Tea Stream Resort Valley theme parks, three scenic towns, two 18-hole golf courses and eight themed hotels. OCT East was joined in 2012 by the OCT Bay development, which brought more attractions including an exhibition center, hotels and residences, an artificial beach called CoCo Beach, and an IMAX cinema.