This video is the 5th part of a blog series throughout 2018, with the pioneers of #TeamCharlotte to capture the opportunities and experiences in Shenzhen China in 2017. Check out the previous video blogs: Who is #TeamCharlotte and How Did They Find Out About Shenzhen, China?Part 2 – Communication and VPN’s in China; Part 3 – Unique Industries and Relationships in China; and Part 4 – Public Security and Chinese and American Risk Management.

The video series are very informal, and a lot of joking is probably going to happen so be prepared to laugh!

Justin Witz: You said something about employees and we talked about this earlier, Shenzhen is a lot like Charlotte in terms of size and transplants. I didn’t get to hear the number, so can one of you relay the numbers?

Amanda Zullo: Yes, I believe from yesterday’s site visit to a local finch company …

Vanessa Vaughn: Lexin?

Amanda: Lexin! They mentioned about 30 years ago, there were 30,000 people that lived in Shenzhen.

Vanessa: So this was not here.

Justin: Ferrari did not exist then.

Vanessa: The Bank of China was not here.


Amanda: And today, 30 years later, there are over 20 million people that live in the city.

Vanessa: Just in Shenzhen.

Amanda: Just in Shenzhen. So what was interesting is, Tony the gentleman who showed us around and gave us a tour of Lexin. He mentioned everyone in America knows Beijing, Shanghai, and Hong Kong, but Shenzhen is a key stakeholder on the map. And you think about just the wealth and the amount of high tech companies. You have Tencent, Lexin, and Yahwey.

Vanessa: The largest companies in China are in Shenzhen. So Shenzhen’s on the map.


Justin: It’s the Silicon Valley of China. That’s how they refer to it.

Amanda: Yes, exactly. It’s just so fascinating for me, even from my background coming from urban design, just the amount of transformation in terms of urban scale where 30 years ago, which is a little less than how old I am now.


Justin: We are millennials.

Amanda: 32 years ago I was born and then 30 years ago there were only 30,000 people. Just to see how far I’ve grown, but also how far the city has grown in such a very short period of time, is absolutely fascinating,. Just thinking about the sustainability aspect. We talked yesterday about sustainability and food deserts are such an issue in the states, but that doesn’t exist here. Maybe not necessarily the food desert as a social issue, but just in terms of urban agriculture and sustainability. How we’re developing the land and how we’re developing it so quickly, I thought was fascinating.

Justin: Right.

Vanessa: So two things you talked about. One is how have you guys seen how Shenzhen relates to Charlotte, especially with all of the people who have migrated here. Secondly, when we had our chats and talked about social responsibility, your business is really socially responsible.

Amanda: Yes.

Vanessa: In China that’s a new concept. Actually, today I was told today that social responsibility is more important than risk management. So what are your thoughts on how it relates to Charlotte and then social responsibility in China?

Justin: I’ll preface with saying this started back in January the idea of forming this youth entrepreneurship forum. Six people were picked from Charlotte to come out here, you are seeing three of the pioneers. More so than anything I think the biggest take away is community is such a key factor. Really bringing in a lot of great talent that comes into one area and maximizing that opportunity so we are not losing great leads or talent to different areas. That would probably be my biggest takeaway .

Amanda: One of the key focus groups we had …

Justin: We all just crossed our right leg.


Vanessa: See, this is #TeamCharlotte right here.

Amanda: We’ve been spending way too much time together.

Vanessa: I feel like I’ve been knowing them for 20 years and its been like 4 days.


Amanda: Which is awesome!

Justin: We grew up together.

Vanessa: My boy.

Amanda: Soul sista.


Justin: And viral.