Shenzhen – The Voice of Innovation In Mainland China

BY P Chong       8 November 2011

Shenzhen in the early 1990s  

Present Shenzhen
Shenzhen as it Now

Shenzhen was voted by Forbes China in 2010 as the most innovative city in mainland China. It virtually started from scratch.

Shenzhen in the 1970s was but a small village. Its metropolitan cityscape is the result of the vibrant economic growth made possible by rapid foreign investment since the institution of the policy of “reform and opening” establishment of the SEZ in the late 1970s. Both Chinese and foreign nationals have invested billions in the Shenzhen SEZ. More than US$30 billion in foreign investment has gone into both foreign-owned and joint ventures, at first mainly in manufacturing but more recently in the service industries as well. Shenzhen is now reputedly one of the fastest-growing cities in the world.

Being the southern mainland China’s major financial centre, Shenzhen is home to the Shenzhen Stock Exchange as well as the headquarters of numerous high-tech companies. Shenzhen is also the third-busiest container port in China, after Shanghai and Hong Kong.


Shenzhen continued to top the list of the most innovative cities on the Chinese mainland this year, followed by Suzhou and Shanghai.

Shenzhen continued to top the list of the most innovative cities on the Chinese mainland this year, followed by Suzhou and Shanghai, according to the latest list of the 25 Chinese mainland cities with the strongest innovation capabilities released Monday by Forbes China.

Forbes China’s survey covered 129 mainland cities:

  • with the municipal GDP of above RMB 43.6 billion yuan (US$6.84 billion) in 2010

  • also the number of patents newly applied for (per capita and total number)

  • the proportion of sci-tech expenses to local fiscal expenditures (including expenses on trial development of new products, intermediate experiment allocations and subsidies for important scientific research projects).

 In 2010, the value-added of Shenzhen’s high-tech industry rose 17.1 percent to RMB 305.9 billion yuan, while the total output value of high-tech products made in Shenzhen hit about RMB 1.02 trillion yuan, with 60.1 percent contributed by products with independent intellectual property rights.

The Yangtze River Delta region retained its predominant status this year, with 15 cities edging into the list. Jiangsu province alone has 11 cities included. Five cities from the Pearl River Delta moved up into the list, while no cities from Western China appeared there.

Statistics show that China’s smaller cities are amazingly eye-catching for their innovation capabilities with more than half cities on the list being county-level and prefecture-level cities. Of the top ten, there are 4 county-level cities: Wujiang, Kunshan, Changshu and Zhangjiagang.



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