AS A CITY, SHENZHEN was almost literally painted into existence. In 1979, “Deng Xiaoping drew a circle”—or so goes the cliché immortalized in an early-’80s pop song—around a fishing village abutting Hong Kong, and proclaimed a zone of free markets for a China then beginning to awaken from its socialist reverie. Nearly thirty years later, it is a site of production on a most extraordinary scale, and the locus of a unique urban condition only possible in a place where the average resident is even younger than the fledgling city itself. Its factories turn out everything from pharmaceuticals to air conditioners; its designers invent the logos that will finally give their nation its own brands; its Window of the World theme park—where visitors amble among replicas of Angkor Wat, the Brasília parliament building, and more than a hundred other famous tourist attractions—takes the Coney Island

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