Shenzhen maintains ceaseless efforts in reform, opening-up after 40 years

Photo taken on July 12 shows downtown Shenzhen. Photo by Li Zhenqi/People's Daily Online

China’s Shenzhen recently gave away 50,000 “red envelopes,” each containing 200-yuan ($29.66) worth of digital currency, to its residents via a random draw in a pilot program to promote the application of the new form of currency.

The program, jointly launched by Shenzhen’s government and the People’s Bank of China, is also a new move of China to drive domestic demand during the country’s regular epidemic prevention and control.

Such an innovative reform measure is not rare in Shenzhen, the first special economic zone of China.

For instance, the first batch of registration-based initial public offerings (IPOs) of 18 enterprises debuted on Aug. 24 on the ChiNext board in the Shenzhen Stock Exchange, China’s NASDAQ-style board of growth enterprises, marking the official operation of the registration system, a major reform mission for the ChiNext board.

In March this year, the city unveiled a task list for business environment improvement, raising 210 concrete measures in 14 major areas. “After these measures are implemented, enterprises can finish registration within a day at zero expense and without in-person visits,” said an official with the city’s administration for market regulation.

So far, Shenzhen has launched quick approval for nearly 250 administrative affairs and “senseless application” for nearly 200 items, and all services are accessible online. Besides, the city also launched China’s personal bankruptcy laws, in an attempt to make itself the safest and fairest city with the best environment for rule of law.

In the January-July period, Shenzhen saw a 14.1 percent growth in the number of new enterprise registrations. Both the number of its commercial bodies and the density of entrepreneurs ranked the first among all medium and large cities in China.

After 40 years of endeavor, Shenzhen has grown into a symbol of China’s reform and opening-up.

At 20:00 pm, Sept. 11, Wanqu (Bay Area), a fully loaded China-Europe freight train departed from a national logistics hub in Shenzhen, embarking on a 16-day journey to the west. Since Aug. 18 when the Europe-bound train started its first trip, it has carried 1,130 tonnes of cargos with a worth of over 70 million yuan to Europe.

“Shenzhen is an all-round port city possessing the greatest number of ports in China and the only one with sea, land and air ports,” said an official with Shenzhen General Station of Exit and Entry Frontier Inspection. According to him, the city witnessed a total of 242 million exits and entries last year, or an average of 663,000 on a daily basis.

On Aug. 30, Shenzhen’s municipal government signed a cooperation agreement with Costco, the second largest retailer of the world, to build the south China headquarters and the first flagship store of the Fortune Global 500 enterprise in the city.

In the first half of this year, nearly 2,000 foreign-funded enterprises were established in Shenzhen, attracting $8 billion of contractual foreign investment. The actual use of foreign capital exceeded $4 billion during this period.

Meanwhile, a large batch of local enterprises in Shenzhen are going closer to the center of global state for competition. Transsion, a mobile phone manufacturer based in the city, now occupies 45 percent of the African market. Around 80 percent of smart wearable devices are made in Shenzhen. In addition, the drones made by Shenzhen’s DJI dominate over 70 percent of the global consumer unmanned aerial vehicle market.

At present, Shenzhen has more than 200 container ship routes to countries and regions along the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, 41 international waypoints connecting 20 countries, as well as international flights that go to 60 cities around the world. Last year, the annual passenger throughput and international passenger volume of the city exceeded 50 million and 5 million, respectively.

According to Shenzhen customs, the city’s total foreign trade volume hit 1.88 trillion yuan in the first eight months of this year, up 2 percent from a year ago and accounting for 9.4 percent of China’s total.

In the recent years, Shenzhen has also been active in building national labs and major science facilities to strengthen its weakness in basic research. So far, the city has constructed 12 basic research institutions, 11 laboratories of Nobel laureates, and 2,642 innovation platforms such as Peng Cheng Laboratory and National Supercomputing Center in Shenzhen.

In the first half of 2020, the value added of Shenzhen’s advanced manufacturing industry went up 2.4 percent from a year ago, 12.6 percentage points higher than that in the first quarter. The value added of its high-tech manufacturing industry grew by 2.2 percent from the same period last year, 11.7 percentage points higher than that in the first quarter.

At present, the city is diverting its innovation from application technology to basic, core, and frontier technologies, transiting from a follower into an innovation leader.

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