“Asian Review 055” ―Chinese Megacities part 4
Shenzhen beyond Hong Kong on Economic Aspect
Shenzhen is a city located in the central coastal area of Guangdong Province. Connected by surface roads, the city can be accessed by car in about an hour from Hong Kong. It was originally a small fishing village with a population of about 30,000. However, after Deng Xiaoping launched a policy in 1980 to designate it as China’s first special economic zone and welcomed foreign-affiliated companies, the situation had changed completely. Taking advantage of the location near Hong Kong which has a free trade port, the manufacturing and processing industry has grown rapidly and the economy has developed dramatically. In the 38 years leading up to 2018, the population has grown to nearly 11.9 million, nearly 400 times.
Even now, young people from all over China still gather to Shenzhen, only 2% of the population are over 65, and the average age of all citizens is 34. Since around the year 2000, industries including mobile phone repair, parts reuse, and assembly have grown rapidly. In particular, from 2011, the government led activities to attract highly skilled human resources for five years, and a large number of subsidies have been provided. These led to the entrepreneurship of students and graduate students at Shenzhen University, and many global companies including IT companies have been established.
It is undeniable that Shenzhen has relied on Hong Kong companies in many aspects such as legal and tax consulting on trade, finance and international transactions. However now it seems that Shenzhen’s GDP has exceeded that of Hong Kong. In the past, Hong Kong citizens went shopping in Shenzhen where prices are cheaper on the weekend, but now Shenzhen citizens are going to Hong Kong on the contrary. In the “Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macau Greater Bay Area”, which is expected to be an important part of the One Belt and One Road Strategy, the core city is Shenzhen, and the central government attaches great importance to Shenzhen.
I think that the city of Shenzhen has become inactive because of the emergency situation from January 20th. The critical chain in the supply chain has stopped, which is affecting the global economy.
When you walk around Shenzhen, there are almost no historic streets so that people do not feel the Chinese atmosphere and Chinese culture here. Knowing Shenzhen alone is not enough to know China. Shenzhen is a city that represents one aspect of China, a country that has achieved rapid economic growth and IT innovation.