Shenzhen, which covers a land area about twice that of Hong Kong, will upgrade 100 square kilometres of industrial parks and renovate another 100 sq kms of “industrial land”, according to its five-year plan, indicating the phase-out of low value-added factories and development of advanced hi-tech plants.
China’s leading chip maker Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp has already entered into an agreement with the Shenzhen government to co-invest US$2.35 billion to build a new wafer fabrication plant in the southern tech hub, adding more capacity amid a global chip shortage.
The stakes are high for Shenzhen, home to about 14,000 hi-tech firms, amid the central government’s goal for the metropolis to become an engine of technological reform, giving it more freedom to recruit talent from around the world. Shenzhen, hand-picked by Chinese President Xi Jinping as a model “socialist” city, is also a central part of Beijing’s plans for the GBA – a scheme to link the economies of Hong Kong and Macau with nine cities in Guangdong.
As a testing ground for China’s market-oriented reforms, Shenzhen used to be infamous for its copycat culture and sweatshops. That has changed over the past two decades, as the city’s fortunes grew alongside the development of companies like telecommunications equipment makers Huawei Technologies Co and ZTE Corp, as well as internet giant Tencent Holdings, which operates the world’s biggest video gaming business by revenue and China’s multipurpose super app WeChat.
While Shenzhen will pursue advances in artificial intelligence and quantum computing under its five-year plan, efforts will also be made to boost the share of financial services output to 15 per cent of the city’s GDP by 2025. Hong Kong, a long-standing international financial centre, generates about a fifth of its GDP from financial services.
The main airport in Shenzhen is expected to handle more than 70 million passengers by 2025, while the terminals that form the Port of Shenzhen will accommodate as much as 33 million containers in the same period.
In a gesture to solve its housing problem, Shenzhen plans to develop at least 280,000 public flats over the next five years, in addition to increasing investments in hospitals and kindergartens.