Shenzhen high-tech hub gears up for steady economic expansion

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People are seen outside the headquarters of Tencent Company in Shenzhen, Guangdong Province, China. (Reuters file photo)

HONG KONG: Shenzhen, China’s Silicon Valley and the wealthiest city in southern Guangdong province, hopes to achieve steady economic expansion through 2025 as part of a new five-year plan, helping to consolidate the metropolis’ role as the “central engine” of the Grande Baie region (GBA).

The city’s 14th five-year plan from 2021 to 2025, released by the Shenzhen government this week, predicts that the local economy will reach 4 trillion yuan ($ 626 billion) by the end of this period, up from 2 800 billion yuan in 2020.

Under the plan, Shenzhen’s gross domestic product per capita is expected to reach 215,000 yuan by 2025, or US $ 33,629, to narrow the city’s wealth gap with neighboring Hong Kong, which had a GDP per capita. from US $ 45,176 last year.

The 130-page economic plan says Shenzhen will play a key role in helping China’s strategy of “technological self-sufficiency” and becoming “the country’s forefront of innovation-driven development.” The city, according to the plan, will focus more on the areas of semiconductors, biomedicine, new energy vehicles and the digital economy.

In a larger context, the southern city will have a bigger role to play, as the high-tech rivalry between the United States and China intensifies, according to Guo Wanda, executive vice president of think tank China. Development Institute based in Shenzhen.

“What sets Shenzhen apart from other tech hubs in China is its vibrant ecosystem of tech companies, which the city expects to play a major role in driving innovation,” Guo said. “Unlike traditional basic scientific research conducted by government and universities, Shenzhen’s research and development initiatives target the demands of industries and the market in general.

As part of its five-year plan, Shenzhen will invest more than 700 billion yuan in high-tech research and development to strengthen its position as China’s innovation powerhouse. That role became more important to China’s high-tech ambitions after the U.S. Senate on Tuesday passed sweeping legislation designed to strengthen Washington’s hand in its growing geopolitical and economic competition with China.

Shenzhen, which covers an area of ​​about double that of Hong Kong, will modernize 100 square kilometers of industrial parks and renovate an additional 100 square kilometers of “industrial land”, according to its five-year plan, indicating the phase-out of products from low value. – addition of factories and development of advanced high-tech factories.

China’s leading chip maker, Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp, has already reached an agreement with the Shenzhen government to co-invest US $ 2.35 billion to build a new wafer manufacturing plant in the southern technology hub, increasing thus the capacity in a context of global shortage of chips.

The stakes are high for Shenzhen, home to around 14,000 high-tech companies, as part of the central government’s goal of making the metropolis an engine of technological reform, giving it more freedom to recruit talent from around the world. . Shenzhen, chosen by Chinese President Xi Jinping as a “socialist” model city, is also a central part of Beijing’s plans for the GBA – a project to link the economies of Hong Kong and Macau to nine cities in Guangdong.

As a testing ground for Chinese market-oriented reforms, Shenzhen was once infamous for its imitation culture and sweatshops. That has changed over the past two decades, as the city’s fortunes have grown alongside the development of companies such as telecommunications equipment makers Huawei Technologies Co and ZTE Corp, as well as the Internet giant. Internet Tencent Holdings, which operates the world’s largest video game company by revenue, and China’s super versatile application WeChat.

As Shenzhen continues to advance artificial intelligence and quantum computing as part of its five-year plan, efforts will also be made to increase the share of financial services output to 15% of the city’s GDP. by 2025. Hong Kong, a longtime international finance center, generates about a fifth of its GDP from financial services.

Shenzhen’s main airport is expected to handle more than 70 million passengers by 2025, while the terminals that form the Port of Shenzhen will handle up to 33 million containers during the same period.

In a move to solve its housing problem, Shenzhen plans to develop at least 280,000 public apartments over the next five years, in addition to increasing investment in hospitals and kindergartens.


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