Many parts of the city are indistinguishable from Hong Kong, and even China pessimists should find it easy to imagine Shenzhen gliding into fully developed status. At times Shenzhen looks better than Hong Kong, but that is due to what I call the myth of infrastructure. Shenzhen being poorer than Hong Kong, and having developed later, are coincident reasons with the peak parts of the city having newer-looking infrastructure.
The OCT Design Center was impressive. China probably will never dominate world music, but my bet is China will be the most important country for the visual arts within the next ten to fifteen years.
It didn’t strike me as a great city for food, if only because the place barely existed thirty years ago. I passed by a bunch of places, but none were especially tempting and some parts of the city don’t seem to have many non-corporate restaurants at all. Finally, I had a tasty meal at the Muslim Hotel Restaurant, food (and servers and diners) from the western part of China. I believe that Cantonese food is due for a steep relative decline, given how much it relies on low labor costs and super-fresh ingredients. It’s already the case that people thinking of taking you out to eat in downtown Hong Kong fixate on other options. It is the New Territories part of town which will carry Cantonese traditions forward.
By the way, visiting Shenzhen will make you think that wages in Hong Kong and Taiwan are due for decline.