Editor’s note: Just four decades ago Shenzhen was a poor fishing village. Today, the south Chinese city is home to up to 20 million people and some of the world’s leading technology companies and most innovative tech startups. A new e-book by freelancing China correspondent Johan Nylander, titled “Shenzhen Superstars — How China’s smartest city is challenging Silicon Valley”, explains why the world better listen up.

Below is an excerpt from the introduction to the book.

When Silicon Valley veteran Scotty Allen first came to the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen a few years ago as part of an organized tour for American tech geeks, and witnessed the city’s noisy hardware and electronics markets, its buzzing tech startup scene and countless glittering skyscrapers, his spontaneous reaction was not: “Wow, this is cool.” It was: “Wow, we are fucked”.

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TechNode Guest Editors represent the best our community has to offer: insight and perspective on how technology is affecting business and culture in China