Shenzhen makes strides in becoming socialist demonstration area
City plays crucial role in national development goals
Published: Oct 14, 2021 09:51 PM
Shenzhen Photo: CFP

Shenzhen Photo: CFP

Shenzhen, China’s burgeoning technology hub and a leading demonstration zone, has pushed forward pilot reforms and achieved remarkable results over the past year in building the city into a socialist demonstration area, local officials said on Thursday.

The achievements further highlighted the country’s long-term plan to become a modern socialist power and foreshadows broader implementation of the country’s key reform plans to ensure long-term sustainable growth, analysts noted.  

In October 2020, China issued a plan on implementing pilot reforms in Shenzhen to build the city into a demonstration area of socialism with Chinese characteristics in the next five years, giving the city more autonomy to carry out market reforms.
The capital market reform at the start-up board ChiNext on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange attracted 208 listed companies, with the total IPO scale surpassing 150 billion yuan ($23.3 billion), Qin Weizhong, mayor of the city in South China's Guangdong Province, told a press conference on Thursday. 

This week, Shenzhen also became the first Chinese mainland local government to sell offshore bonds in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, with an issue of 5 billion yuan, Qin said. The city also took the lead in the establishment and implementation of a punitive compensation system for intellectual property infringement and published the first complete ecosystem GDP accounting system. 

The innovation powerhouse has also become a role model for other parts of China, with some of its reform experience expected to help carrying out reforms across the country, experts said.

The city’s local regulatory power and brave efforts in regional governance made a great impression on Lin Jiang, a professor of economics at Lingnan University College at Sun Yat-sen University.

For instance, important practical and innovative institutional achievements are on the horizon in Shenzhen, including the formulation of the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone Data Regulations for the facilitation of data circulation, the first of its kind in China. 

“As a demonstration pilot zone, Shenzhen dares to dream big and is brave enough to have a try,” Lin told the Global Times on Thursday. 

Shenzhen has achieved great results in its forefront role of opening-up to the world a year after the announcement of the pilot reform plan, setting a good example for the other parts of China, Liu Baocheng, director of the Center for International Business Ethics of the University of International Business and Economics, told the Global Times on Thursday.

As a new socialist demonstration area, Shenzhen highlights the fundamental goals of China's socialist construction, that is, to promote scientific and technological progress, achieve high-quality development, and reduce the wealth gap, said Liu.

The city, which is also home to some of China's tech behemoths, including Tencent and drone giant DJI, is set to invest more than 700 billion yuan in high-tech research and development during the 2021-25 plan period. 

The city is also playing an increasingly important role in molding the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA), experts said. The city plays a crucial role of bridging the Chinese mainland, Hong Kong and Macao, Liu noted.

Recently, measures to enhance scientific cooperation with Hong Kong via the Qianhai economic zone were announced, ranging from encouraging the establishment of laboratories by Hong Kong colleges and universities in Qianhai to speeding up the construction of the Shenzhen-Hong Kong digital economic town.

Despite the progress that has been made, there are issues yet to be tackled, experts noted.

"The next important tasks concern how to adopt the successful pattern in Shenzhen to wider ranges, especially cities along the coastline," said Liu.

In addition to drawing more talent from elsewhere to participate in the development of Shenzhen, the city should also mull the possibilities for boosting its talent-cultivating mechanism in ways such as building more high-level institutions and seeking deeper academic cooperation with universities of both home and abroad, said Liu.