Fisherman Lin Jian has lived on Yongxing Island for more than a decade, but today he hardly recognises the place.
"Every day the island has a new look," the 45-year-old said.
This once-remote island, in southern Hainan province, became home to Chinas newest and smallest city - in land size and population - when Sansha was established in July last year.
Since then, it has undergone a transformation that even by Chinese standards has been astonishing; from having almost no modern conveniences, to having tap water, 24-hour electricity, paved roads, a hospital and a sewage plant - even 3G coverage.
Lin and his family will soon move into a new home in a purpose-built fishing community, while a kindergarten and primary school are set to open next year.
"Life here is no different than in an urban area, with the Internet and TV, but we have beautiful views and fresh air," said Lin Jun, the fisherman's 19-year-old son, who returned to the island last year to help the family business.
"It's not a remote island to me anymore," he added. "It's a good place to relax."
Sansha comprises several island groups in the South China Sea - Xisha, which includes Yongxing, the seat of the Sansha city government, and Zhongsha and Nansha - and covers a land area of 13 square kilometers and 2.6 million sq km of maritime territory.