Quick Facts

• Population: 11.9 million (2016)
• GDP: £193 billion (19% nominal growth in 2016)
• Highest GDP per capital amongst major Chinese cities
• Average age of resident: 34 (2015)
• Shenzhen Stock Exchange is one of China’s two stock markets

In 1979 Shenzhen was a border town of just 30,000 people. However, since Shenzhen became China’s first “special economic zone” in 1980 it has grown to the metropolis we see today.

Shenzhen has harnessed its position just across the border from Hong Kong, an international finance centre, to catapult itself to the forefront of Chinese private enterprise and innovation. Shenzhen is backed up by the mature manufacturing industry of the Pearl River Delta, has seen average GDP growth of over 13% for the last 30 years.

Today Shenzhen is one of the wealthiest regions on the Chinese mainland, with the highest GDP per capita amongst all the major cities.

As a new city Shenzhen is an eclectic mix of cultures and Chinese dialects amongst recent arrivals. As they say in Shenzhen, “As soon as you arrive, you are already a Shenzhener”

Key Business Sectors

Shenzhen is an important financial centre in China. Finance plays a vital role in the city’s economy contributing 13.6% to the city’s GDP, the highest on the Chinese mainland. Enterprises here benefit from fluid financing channels and a broad array financial services.

High-tech companies, finance, logistics and culture are the city’s four pillar industries and their added value accounts for more than 60% of the city’s GDP. Traditional industries such as machinery, clocks and watches, furniture, toys, jewellery and clothing are also highly competitive.

Unlike many Chinese cities, the private sector makes up the vast majority of enterprises in Shenzhen, with relatively low government interference.

City of Technology & Innovation

Shenzhen is China’s number one city for innovation. R&D investment accounted for 3.66% of the city’s GDP in 2011, double Chinese average.

Shenzhen PCT patent applications have topped China for eight consecutive years. 60% of the products produced in Shenzhen have independent intellectual property rights.

An outstanding business and innovation environment has enabled numerous Chinese tech companies to flourish in the city, such as: Huawei, Tencent and ZTE.

Shenzhen is home to the South China headquarters of Microsoft Asia-Pacific R&D Group, IBM Global’s procurement center, Oracle’s first R&D centre in China, the Chinese headquarters of Walmart and UPS Asia-Pacific’s transshipment centre.

Finance and Ties with Hong Kong

As China’s first special economic zone, Shenzhen has integrated with its neighbour Hong Kong in its economic and financial systems and business practices, offering an international environment to investors.

Qianhai District is a new special policy environment with tax incentives and subsidies to stimulate overseas investment.

Legal incentives encourage Hong Kong arbitration agencies to establish affiliated agencies. Qianhai is also going to be the testing ground for freer yuan usage and capital account convertibility. 15 lenders from Hong Kong have been given approval to provide about 2 billion yuan (£200 million) of cross-border loans to companies in Qianhai.

Economic Highlights

• Innovation ability rises,which promotes high-tech and emerging industries to accelerate the output of products.
• Manufacturing still has advantages. The growth of capacity cooperation and industrial transfer is fast and steady.

Useful Online Resources

The Official Website of Shenzhen Government
Economy,Trade and Information Commission of Shenzhen Municipal
China Council for The Promotion of International Trade, Guangdong Sub-council