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Shenzhen’s next chapter: R&D powerhouse

After rising to economic prosperity as a global manufacturing hub, Shenzhen is poised for a high-tech makeover. (Lyu Hu/

After morphing seemingly overnight into a global manufacturing hub, Shenzhen, China is poised for another dramatic makeover. He Huifeng and Nectar Gan report for the South China Morning Post that this city of nearly 11 million on China’s mainland has a higher ambition: research and development juggernaut.

Shenzhen is shedding its manufacturing base as labor costs rise and factories increasingly relocate to Vietnam and other countries with lower wages. The transition is facilitated in part by “forward-thinking policies” espoused by Mayor Xu Qin, the authors write.

Reliance on market forces, a youthful workforce and the heavy presence of private-owned and foreign-backed ventures foster a culture of risk-taking, the newspaper says. The transformation is intended to cultivate emerging industries such as biotechnology and renewable energy. Since 2013, the city has devoted more than 4 percent of its gross domestic product toward research and development, the article notes. That places Shenzhen, located just north of Hong Kong, on par with leading high-tech centers such as Seoul and Tel Aviv.

In a second article, the South China Morning Post looks at the nearby city of Dongguan, a declining manufacturing city that has failed to make the same transitions seen in Shenzhen.  

South China Morning Post

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