In 1979, Deng Xiaoping drew a circle on the map around China’s southern coast and created Shenzhen, an experiment in capitalism, according to a popular ode to the former leader.

Nearly four decades later, Xi Jinping unveiled his own ambition for an era-defining city, this time perched on the outskirts of Beijing.

Xiongan was billed as a gleaming, high-tech metropolis that would serve as a release valve for the crowded Chinese capital — "a model city in the history of human development.”