Get us in your inbox

Megan Eaves

Megan Eaves

Articles (1)

What to do in Overseas Chinese Town, Shenzhen’s coolest neighbourhood

What to do in Overseas Chinese Town, Shenzhen’s coolest neighbourhood

What’s the deal with Overseas Chinese Town? In Shenzhen, nearly everything is new. Fuelled by a zipping tech industry that’s made many locals millionaires overnight, China’s fastest-growing metropolis is shiny and modern. Overseas Chinese Town (OCT, or Huaqiaocheng in Chinese) is probably the city’s most affluent neighbourhood, and home to many young entrepreneurs who have made their money in tech empires. But OCT is still approachable, especially for those not paid in yuan. Audis vie for space with scooters on palm-lined avenues. Duck into the district’s crown jewel, OCT-Loft – an ’80s warehouse complex that’s been transformed into a thriving arts district – and you’ll find locals incubating start-ups over cappuccinos and musing on contemporary art. Sprawling OCT is full of odd pockets. Huge tracts are filled by an assortment of kitschy amusement parks, but seek and you shall find untouched traces of an earlier China. In the city’s last remaining ‘urban villages’, buzzing warrens of low-rise streets hide craft beer shops where you can pay in Bitcoin and sizzling late-night barbecue stands, alongside gritty shops and motor repair stalls. RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the 50 coolest neighbourhoods in the world If you only do one thing… Photograph: Sarbast T. Hameed / CC-BY Hit up one of OCT’s bizarre amusement parks. You could join the queue at the popular Window of the World, with its collection of miniature landmarks, but there’s also Splendid China Folk Village – where instead