Shekou (Chinese: 蛇口; pinyin: Shékŏu; literally “Snake’s Mouth”) is an area at the tip of Nantou Peninsula in Shenzhen, Guangdong, southern China, south of Nantou and facing Lau Fau Shan of Hong Kong across Deep Bay.
It was formerly a customs station in Bao’an County and now belongs to Nanshan District of Shenzhen. On 31 January 1979, it became Shekou Industrial Zone developed solely by China Merchants of Hong Kong, earlier than the formation of Shenzhen Special Economic Zone.
Since the 1980s, after foreign oil majors such as Agip, Chevron, Texaco, StatoilHydro and Shell obtained concessions for oil exploration in the South China Sea, Shekou started serving as a base for a small contingent of foreign oil platform workers, since qualified personnel were not available locally. As a result of this first mover advantage in catering for mainly western tastes in housing, food and drink, entertainment and schooling, at a time when no alternatives were available in the area, Shekou gradually became home to the majority of the expatriate population working in and around Shenzhen and part of its hinterland in the Pearl River Delta. This trend has however abated after 2003, as the country’s continued economic reform, development of the Nanshan and Futian areas, and substantial increases in English levels of university graduates have made life in the city proper more acceptable to many foreigners without school-age children.
In 2003, the local government, seeking to capitalize on the foreign flavor of the town, invested in a complete make-over of Sea World, turning it into a western-style entertainment area centered around the grounded Minghua ship, a 14,000 ton, 168 m long vessel built in 1962 as French president Charles De Gaulle’s private yacht, and purchased by China in 1973.
An extension to line 2 of the city’s subway connecting the locality to downtown Shenzhen is under construction and is scheduled for completion in 2010.
It is possible to fly into Hong Kong airport and get a ferry direct to Shekou. The customs and immigration process is completed upon disembarking the ferry. Buses go directly from the ferry port to Shenzhen airport. Info as well as boarding / ticket procedures under: http://www.cksp.com.hk/eng/skypier/introduction/main.html
Shekou is also the China mainland entry point for the Hong Kong-Shenzhen Western Corridor that opened on 1 July 2007. It links Shekou with Yuen Long of Hong Kong.
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