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As part of Deng Xiaoping’s 'reform and opening up' policies, China named Shenzhen a special economic zone in 1980. Over the next 40 years, Shenzhen transformed from a rural backwater with a population of 20,000 to China's answer to Silicon Valley. It forms part of the “Greater Bay Area”, so created in 2016 by the Chinese government, which groups nine Guangdong cities with Hong Kong and Macau as an economic hub.