Shop 'till you're a Super-city


Will Hong Kong and its northern neighbour Shenzhen join forces to become the world’s third largest metropolis by 2020? Asia Tatler sheds light on the possibility of this in its current feature (‘Urban Fusion’) and includes some pretty informative background and analysis of the dynamics between the two cities.

While this is all interesting, especially with Shenzhen being a Special Economic Zone yet still substantially lesser-known internationally than its counterpart, what stood out for me was the link made in the piece between this topic and–shopping. Quoting Harvard design Professor Rem Koolhaas, it suggests that shopping ‘is arguably the last remaining form of public activity,’ and has become the principal way through which we experience a city. In which case then Hong Kong ‘culture seekers’ have really been experiencing Shenzhen. A reported 54 percent of trips currently made by Hong Kong residents to Shenzhen are solely for shopping and entertainment purposes.

So I wonder whether perhaps even without joining forces with Hong Kong to become the next global super city, Shenzhen could still just sit back and enjoy its rise to success. Consider Macau, with its now booming casino scene–thriving now thanks to the never-ending waves of visiting Hong Kong high rollers.

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So Shenzhen could really be poised to take off, without doing much more than perhaps upping its customer service levels to maintain a steady stream of Hong Kong clientele. Or if it wants to become a more memorable city in its own right, it could also consider adopting a catchy nickname. Zhen City?

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