Shekou is an area at the southern tip of Nanshan, Shenzhen, Guangdong Province, China. It faces Yuen Long, Hong Kong across the Shenzhen Bay. It has been designated a Free Trade Zone by the government, alongside Qianhai, Hengqin and Nansha.
|Literal meaning||Snake's Mouth|
The area was formerly a customs station of Bao'an County. On 31 January 1979, it became officially known as the Shekou Industrial Zone, developed solely by China Merchants of Hong Kong under Yuan Geng's leadership, earlier than the formation of Shenzhen Special Economic Zone. The event is chronicalled in the Chinese ballad "The Story of Spring (春天的故事)".
Since the 1980s, after foreign oil majors such as Agip, Chevron, Texaco, Statoil and Shell obtained concessions for oil exploration in the South China Sea, Shekou started serving as a base for a small contingent of foreign oil platform workers, since qualified personnel were not available locally. As a result of this first mover advantage in catering for mainly western tastes in housing, food and drink, entertainment and schooling, at a time when no alternatives were available in the area, Shekou gradually became home to the majority of the expatriate population working in and around Shenzhen and part of its hinterland in the Pearl River Delta. This trend has however abated after 2003, after the country's continued economic reforms. Development of other parts of the city and substantial increase in English levels of university graduates have made life in the city proper more acceptable to many foreigners without school-age children.
In 2003, the local government, seeking to capitalize on the foreign flavor of the area, invested in a complete make-over of Sea World, turning it into a western-style entertainment area centered on the grounded Minghua (明华) ship, a 14,000 ton, 168 m long vessel built in 1962 as a French ferry vessel purchased by China in 1973. It is commonly, though incorrectly, referred to by many locals as French President Charles De Gaulle's private yacht. Minghua is now completely landlocked due to extensive local land reclamation and redevelopment efforts.
Shekou is undergoing a major redevelopment project, costing an excess of 60 billion RMB. This included the construction of dozens of office and residential towers (such as the China Merchants Tower), a new cruise center replacing the old ferry terminal, a number of shopping malls around Sea World and the refurbishment of numerous older buildings.
Line 2 of the city's metro ends in Chiwan, an area just west of Shekou, therefore the line is also known as the Shekou line. Stations geographically located in Shekou include, among others Sea World and Shekou Port.
Shekou Port Ferry Terminal offers regular ferry services to and from Hong Kong, Macau and Zhuhai. The customs and immigration process is completed upon disembarking the ferry. The Metro station is just beyond the taxi stand of the terminal. There are also buses travelling directly from the terminal to the Shenzhen Bao'an International Airport.
The area attracts many tourists and has a sizable community of resident foreigners, and many non-Chinese restaurants exist in the area. According to the Shenzhen Management and Service Center for Expats, 6,275 of the 43,919 registered expats living in Shenzhen are registered with the Shekou Police Station and Shenzhenwan Police Station alone.
Primary and secondary schools for local Mainland Chinese students include:
- Shekou School (蛇口学校), which houses primary and secondary grades
- Shenzhen Yucai Education Group, which includes one high school, two middle schools, four primary schools and 4 nursery schools
International primary and secondary schools in Shekou include:
- Shenzhen American International School 
- Shenzhen Japanese School
- Korean International School in Shenzhen
- QSI International School of Shekou
- Shekou International School
- BASIS International School Shenzhen
- Recognize International Academy
- Previously the Shenzhen Saturday School (深・(ｼﾝｾﾝ)補習授業校, formerly SHENZHEN日本人補習校), a Japanese supplementary school, was based in the Ming Wah International Convention Centre (明华国际会议中心) in Shekou.
- Sea World Culture and Arts Center (joint with the UK's Victoria and Albert Museum) opened on 2 December 2017
- Shenzhen Shekou Maritime Museum opened to the public on 29 June 2017
Resource for Foreigners:
Shekou was chosen as the location for China's first Management and Service Center for Expats. The new facilities provide an information center for locals as well as a place where foreigners can get assistance from very friendly English-speaking staff. The types of assistance they offer include registration services for expats living in the area so foreigners no longer need to go to the police station, advice on marriage or disputes with landlords and employers, guidelines on leases, traveling, currency exchange and more. 
- Agip, Chevron And Texaco Sign Agreement To Study New Tract Offshore China – Pr Newswire – Highbeam Research
- Multinational Monitor: Chevron, the big oil boys
- People's Daily, 14 June 2001: More oil found in the South China Sea
- Statoil China office contact details
- Geotimes, February 2008: Squabbles over the South China Sea
- Sea World
- "蛇口嬗变 招商600亿再造新蛇口".
- "Shenzhen's first Japanese school opens in Shekou" (Archive). Shenzhen Daily. June 16, 2008. Retrieved on January 14, 2015. Alternate link at (Archive) Xinhua, Alternate link at Newsgd.com.
- "深圳日本人学校 事務職員 募集要項." Shenzhen Japanese School. Retrieved on January 14, 2015. "連絡先 深圳日本人学校 中華人民共和国広東省深圳市南山区工業八路295号"
- Home page. Korean International School of Shenzhen (Korean section). Retrieved on June 17, 2015. "우) 441-110 中国 广东省 深圳市 南山区 蛇口 沿山路 51号"
- "アジアの補習授業校一覧" (). MEXT. January 2, 2003. Retrieved on January 12, 2018. "中華人民共和国広東省SHENZHEN市蛇口工業區亀山路８號「明華国際会議中心」"