Typhoon Dujuan (searchslammed into the southern Chinese coastal city of Shenzhen (search), killing at least 20 people and causing extensive damage to parts of the country's showcase economic development zone, the official news agency said Wednesday.

The Xinhua News Agency called the damage the worst to the region since 1979.

Sixteen of the fatalities were reported when a workers' dormitory collapsed, the agency said, and at least 20 others were injured in that accident. There were no immediate details on the other deaths or any preliminary damage estimates.

Multiple flights out of Shenzhen airport and nearby Guangzhou (search), as well as trains out of the city, were also reported canceled, stranding at least 3,000 passengers.

Dujuan also knocked out power and caused explosions at electrical substations, Xinhua said.

Repeated messages left with Guangdong provincial government offices went unreturned. A man who answered the phone said officials were out to lunch.

Shenzhen was a small village on the Pearl River Delta when Deng Xiaoping's economic reforms turned it into a showcase for the country's experiment in capitalism. Today, it is a bustling metropolis of high-rises and international business ventures.