4 years ago

May 2019

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Shenzhen by Range Rover Sport PHEV | A first drive in the new Range Rover Evoque | Mid-century modernist architecture in Germany | George Bamford on what makes true luxury | Meet moon-walker Charlie Duke | Carnival subculture in Brazil



TRAVEL People like tech inventor Robin Wu (top right) and innovation lab founder Seth Li (left) are the driving force behind Shenzhen’s rise as a hub of pioneering thinking than being filled with big mega-projects, here the crowd decides which small-scale innovations work best. Those that are popular will grow.” In the last 20 years, some of these small ideas have become really big. In a two-square-mile block, you’ll find the headquarters of tech giants Alibaba, Tencent and Huawei, and the world’s leading drone company, DJI. All this development can mean less cool things – dirt, smog and noise. But here again, Shenzhen has some neat answers built into its DNA. Across the waters of Shenzhen Bay, bulbous mountains rise green out of the heat haze: Hong Kong. Such proximity has brought with it some useful ideas. “Shenzhen “MOST has learned a lot from Hong Kong,” says Tat. “Hong Kong made its mountain areas into country parks and Shenzhen followed that model. Now, half of all space in Shenzhen is green, which is almost unique in China.” That greenery is not confined to the mountains, which snake into the heart of the central districts. As we cruise the city, in near-silence thanks to the Range Rover Sport PHEV’s electric drivetrain, every road is lined with palms and tangles of tropical creepers. Concrete and glass are juxtaposed with deep, shaded undergrowth. Plants even hang from the sides of skyscrapers. Along these green belts, we pull off the highway into car parks where EV charging points stand among the palms and lawns. And there is water everywhere – cascading, spouting or lying in tranquility. “All these sustainable developments are simply a choice between doing something better or doing nothing,” says Tat. “Most cities have the burden of history, of existing infrastructure. Shenzhen can make itself afresh, and the impetus isn’t top-down. It’s about daring to take risks – and about implementation. Testing these systems in a small city of 100,000 doesn’t reveal the value of the innovation. Here you can scale innovation fast for a city of 13 million. That quickly makes new ways of doing things popular.” One man who knows better than most the value of scaling up to the Shenzhen model is Robin Wu. This leading tech pioneer is an embodiment of the city’s spirit. We meet in his 22nd-floor office looking out over the golfing greens and glass towers of Houhai. “For the post-1980s-born who come to Shenzhen, it’s a one-way ticket,” says Robin. “We have to give it our all. Most of the success stories in Shenzhen are people who come from other provinces, like me.” Robin was born in the mountains of Jiangxi province. Ten years ago, he was part of a pioneering group of IT specialists innovating such smartphone features as dual SIM cards. Today, sitting surrounded by his latest prototypes, he believes that the breakneck period in Shenzhen’s story is over. “The new era is moving towards innovation and worldbeating competitiveness, rather than simply manufacturing,” says Robin. “We’re trying to innovate products that are not in the Western markets yet.” He cradles in his hand his latest innovation, a small credit cardsized device that plugs into your smartphone and converts it – via a projector or screen – into a laptop. It’s neat and so simple. Robin’s company, MeeGoPad, an offshoot of traditional manufacturing firm Huajian, is an innovation cell that’s about taking creative risks. Many of its projects use crowdfunding as a source of capital. “MeeGoPad is more like a club,” Robin explains. “People of different backgrounds come together and share their knowledge to make something new. The direction of our product line isn’t fixed; where there’s a need, we try to fulfill it.” He looks out over the skyscrapers that surround us. “The Shenzhen spirit is not simply about money,” he continues. “It’s about deeper motivations – how to improve people’s lives and make a better community. Within this area there are 300 listed companies, but they don’t forget the small guys, because we were all small guys not so long ago.” CITIES HAVE THE BURDEN OF HISTORY, OF EXISTING INFRASTRUCTURE. SHENZHEN CAN MAKE ITSELF AFRESH, AND THE IMPETUS ISN’T TOP-DOWN” 55

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Land Rover Magazine


Land Rover Magazine showcases stories from around the world that celebrate inner strength and the drive to go Above and Beyond.

In this issue, New Defender is put through its paces by two inspirational young adventurers as they prepare for an expedition to the South Pole. We also celebrate 50 years of Range Rover by taking a journey of discovery to Dubai. As well as looking back, we look to future as a group of visionaries explain the technologies that could change the future for all of us.

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