The charm of Shenzhen

About Shenzhen

First Chinese city launching Reform and Opening-up policy

Shenzhen itself was "designed" by Deng Xiaoping, the chief architect of China's reform and opening-up policy. An ordinary border town of 300,000 inhabitants neighboring Hong Kong was chosen as China's first special economic zone on August 26, 1980, a date later regarded as Shenzhen's "birthday" . The city's population subsequently ballooned to 13 million by the end of 2007. As the vanguard spearheading China's reform and opening-up policy, the city is regarded as the model for the country's economic success over the past three decades. It is said,"Shenzhen showcases China's developing miracle of the past 30 years." As a "window" , Shenzhen has vigorously developed the export-oriented economy,  introducing foreign capital and technologies. Its import and export volume has topped the mainland's large and medium cities for more than 10 years running. As a "test field" , Shenzhen attracted worldwide attention by creating "Shenzhen Miracle" in the 1990s. In the new century, Shenzhen has chosen to put higher efficiency ahead of bigger GDP and rely more on "intangible resources" and less on natural resources.

China's largest migrant city with youngest population

The majority of Shenzhen residents are migrants from other provinces and the influx of migrants is continuing. The 29-year-old Shenzhen has a population with the average age of 30.8, most of whom are well educated covering one-sixth of the country's PhDs. Good development opportunities, effective incentive mechanisms and a high-quality living environment are the reasons that the city is attracting talented people from home and abroad. Shenzhen has created a special culture because of the migrants with different cultural backgrounds, forging unique city characteristics that are Admire creativity, Encourage diversity and Be tolerant of failure. For the particular geographic location, Shenzhen is prone to the influence of Hong Kong and Western cultures. The exchange and convergence of different cultures, like Oriental and Western cultures, modern and traditional cultures, or coastal and continental cultures, lead Shenzhen to a culture of openness, tolerance and creativity.

Geographical link with Hong Kong

Shenzhen has a close bond with Hong Kong, its next-door neighbor. Shenzhen supplies the majority of the poultry, eggs, fish, meat and dairy products to the Hong Kong market. It also supplies more than 1.1 billion cubic meters of drinking water consumed by the inhabitants of Hong Kong. The Daya Bay Nuclear Power Plant of Shenzhen provides electricity for Hong Kong. Hong Kong firms have always been the most important investors in Shenzhen and many Shenzhen firms have been listed on the Hong Kong stock exchange. With the view of a mega-metropolis formed by the two cities in the future, Shenzhen is considering this trend in its long-term plans. In the next few years, Shenzhen and Hong Kong are planning to cooperate more in the fields of finance, logistics, trade and creative culture.

Strategy for a "culture-based city"

In January 2003, Shenzhen established the strategy for a "culture-based city" and the principle of a "cultural economy" , aiming to build Shenzhen into a cultural and ecological city of high civilization. While implementing the "culture-based city" strategy, Shenzhen set the goal of building itself into a "Library City" ,"Piano City", "City of Design" and "Cartoon Animation Base" . Now there is a community library for every 15,000 residents in Shenzhen and all the libraries are expected to be E-linked with shared resources. Shenzhen leads the nation in the popularity of the piano, with 8.2 pianos for every 100 families. The first China (Shenzhen) International Piano Concerto Competition was held in October 2006 and the competition will now be held every three years. Design has become an important part of residents' lives. During "Creative December" each year, creative design competitions are held among residents and youths.

Birthplace of China's modern design

Shenzhen is on the front line of China's reform and opening up. It has taken the national lead in optimizing its processing and manufacturing industries and a large number of new industrial products have emerged. Since the beginning of the 1980s, Shenzhen-made products have been loved by Chinese people. Attracting and making full use of foreign investment is an important driving force behind the rapid development of Shenzhen's manufacturing industry. A direct orientation with the overseas market has prompted Shenzhen enterprises to attach more importance to product quality and design skills. Modern design philosophy has been gradually infiltrated into the minds of the people of Shenzhen. Some processing enterprises began to cultivate their own designers to better transform foreign designs into products. Some entrepreneurs cultivated their own company designers and encouraged them to devise products to reduce costs in designing and at the same time upgrade the level of local designers. The concept of Chinese modern design was gradually born in Shenzhen.

Design industry

Shenzhen's design industry has a comparatively high marketing level and close connections with other industries, which make the city a major design hub and one of the leading cities in China. Graphic design, industrial design, interior design, packaging design, fashion and Architecture in Shenzhen are all the first in the country. Shenzhen has a particular advantage in the design of light industrial products, including watches and clocks, medical instruments, telecommunication products, electronic products, toys and furniture. Shenzhen has more than 6,000 design firms with over 100,000 employees, the most attractive city for young designers. Many elite Chinese designers who have substantial influence in the domestic design industry are from Shenzhen. Supported by the government's industrial policy, private companies have renovated old factory buildings and villages to let to designers, artists, craftsmen, graduates with design credentials, and other entrepreneurs in the creative industries. More than 20 creative industry clusters have been established that cover an area of about 2,000 square km.

High technology

In the 1990s, Shenzhen municipal government made the decision to foster high-tech industries. Today, high-tech sectors are the most important part of the city's economy. In 2007, the output value of high-tech products totaled 759.8 billion Yuan, ranking first in the country. More than half of the high-tech products have their own intellectual property rights and accounted for 58.92 percent of the output value of all high-tech products. Shenzhen's PCT international application top mainland cities in 2007. Shenzhen also tops mainland cities in the number of famous national brands and international brands. China's only State-level trade fair for new and high technologies and products - China Hi-Tech Fair (CHTF) is held in Shenzhen every September, offering a trading platform for research centers, transnational companies, venture capitals and start-up firms. Shenzhen has created a virtual university campus to draw scores of top Chinese universities to open research centers in the city. In the newly built University Town, nine national key labs are planned.

Software programming

Shenzhen's software sector has more than 140,000 programmers and more than 9,000 companies involved in software development and other forms of software technology. The sector has become the core of the city's information technology and equipment manufacturing industries, facilitating the fast development of new high- tech industries for telecommunications, electronic appliances for medical use, digital equipment, PCs, digital TV, applied electronics for automobiles and energy-saving electronics. The total income of Shenzhen's software sector reached 75 billion Yuan in 2006, US$2.9 billion of which came from exporting. The export revenue topped other mainland cities. Small and medium enterprises have grown rapidly in the city's software clusters, which cover about 200,000 square meters in six districts. The development of equipment-related embedded software, Internet value-added services and online games software are leading other cities in China. Huawei Technologies, ZTE, Tencent and Kindee Software are the most well-known companies.

Ports and transportation

A total of 17 ports - the most compared with other mainland cities - link Shenzhen to the outside world. Nine commercial ports are sprawled 15 kilometers along the city's coastline, from where more than 40 world shipping companies sail on more than 150 container transport routes. The turnover volume of containers in the Shenzhen ports is the fourth largest in the world. The number of passengers using Shenzhen International Airport is the fourth among Chinese cities. The Beijing-Guangzhou Railway and the Beijing-Kowloon (Hong Kong) Railway converge in Shenzhen, making it an important hub of railroad transport. The city's first Metro line was opened in 2004, and now there are more than ten lines planned.

Environmental protection

The Shenzhen government has given environmental protection much attention since the city was established. This is to ensure that its citizens will have safe, clean and fresh air, water and food. Most of the city's daily garbage, 93.7 percent, has been neutralized. With 442 community parks and natural resorts, the city has greenery covering 45 percent of its urban districts and forests occupying 47 percent of its total area. Each citizen is entitled to 16.01 square meters of public greenery. Shenzhen won the "Nations in Bloom" competition in Washington, D.C., United States, in 2000, beating 32 other cities from 19 countries and the first Chinese city to receive this title. In 2004, the city government began to issue a green award to citizens who make a major contribution to environmental protection. Between 2006 and 2010, the city plans to invest 25 billion Yuan into 294 projects to treat pollution in 10 areas.

City of Pianos

An independent research company has prepared an evaluation of piano education and culture in Shenzhen, and government officials are reviewing related documents. Dan said results of the evaluation would be announced after the review. Dan said promoting piano education among Shenzhen residents is key to the plan. He has formerly worked with well-known young Chinese pianists Li Yundi, Chen Sa, Zhang Haochen and Zuo Zhang.

"In 2004, there were about 100,000 people learning the piano in the city and the number has increased sharply, by at least 300 percent, over the past nine years,"  he said. “Compared with older major cities in China, Shenzhen does not have a long cultural history. Universal, basic piano education could help Shenzhen build up its cultural construction.” Shenzhen began “City of Piano” efforts in 2003 and has held various piano-related activities and events since then.

With the support of Shenzhen Art School, Shenzhen's piano education level tops the nation. A string of talented pianists, including Li Yundi, Chen Sa, Zhang Haochen, Gu Jingdan and Pan Linzi, instructed by Professor Dan Zhaoyi, have garnered awards in prestigious international contests. Piano education is growing more popular among Shenzhen primary and middle school students. There are 8.2 pianos for every 100 Shenzhen families. Many piano masters have made Shenzhen their base for career development.