Foreign leaders intensively visit China’s tech hub for innovation experience
Nation seeks win-win outcomes with other developing countries in economic cooperation: expert
Published: Sep 12, 2023 09:30 PM
Shenzhen Photo: VCG

Shenzhen Photo: VCG

Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema on Tuesday ended his three-day visit to Shenzhen, South China's Guangdong Province, joining leaders from other developing countries who visited the Silicon Valley of China, attracted by its four-decade development miracle. During their trip, visiting high-tech firms such as Huawei and leading electric vehicle maker BYD was a must for these leaders.

Shenzhen will provide valuable reform and opening-up as well as sci-tech innovation experience for developing countries that have the similar starting point as China, Chinese observers said, noting that the nation's firm commitment to opening-up brings more cooperation opportunities for the whole world, while unilateral and protectionist behavior by the US seriously damages international economic and trade cooperation.

Hichilema visited Tencent and ZTE on Tuesday in Shenzhen, the first stop of his state visit to China. On Monday, he visited BYD and Huawei to learn about Shenzhen's experience in transforming itself from an agriculture-driven economy to a modern industrial powerhouse, local news outlet Shenzhen Daily reported.

Prior to Hichilema, Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro Moros also made Shenzhen his first stop on his seven-day visit to China, which will end on Thursday. "When you are in China, you are in the future," Maduro said, noting that what aspect of China's development impressed him the most is the country's technological advance, the Shenzhen Special Zone Daily reported.

Maduro and his wife watched a drone light show on his first day in Shenzhen and his wife recorded the show with her phone, a video released by local media said. For those who are looking for development, technology and new inventions, Shenzhen is an important place, so it is a good starting point, Maduro was quoted by media reports as saying. 

So far this year, there have been at least 60 foreign officials of the deputy minister level and above who visited Shenzhen, according to media reports. Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune visited Shenzhen in July, exclaiming that Shenzhen's development is a miracle. President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo Felix-Antoine Tshisekedi Tshilombo went to Shenzhen in May, where he visited Huawei and reached a cooperation memorandum with Huawei on the country's digital transformation.

"Shenzhen is a trailblazer in China's reform and opening-up and has achieved great economic miracles over the past four decades, becoming a model for development for other cities and countries across the world. The intensive visits of foreign leaders reflect their aspirations to learn about Shenzhen's experience, especially in technological innovation," Song Wei, a professor at the School of International Relations and Diplomacy at Beijing Foreign Studies University, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

Once a small fishing town, Shenzhen has become a global hardware center and hub for scientific and technological advances after more than four decades of reform and opening-up. Public data showed there are more than 23,000 national-level high-tech enterprises in the special economic zone, with tech giants including Huawei, Tencent, TCL and dronemaker DJI having been born in the tech wonderland.

The State Council recently released a plan to promote the high-quality development of Shenzhen Park of the Hetao Shenzhen-Hong Kong Science and Technology Innovation Cooperation Zone, giving a new boost to the city's technological development.

"Other countries could especially learn how Shenzhen deploys the power of both technology and the market to move upward on global supply chains," said Liu Guohong, director of the Department of Finance and Modern Industries at the China Development Institute in Shenzhen.

As the old saying goes, "give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime." China seeks win-win industrial development with other developing countries through infrastructure and production capacity cooperation, which is different from goods or project aid from developed countries, Liu told the Global Times on Tuesday.

He stressed that China attaches importance to the overall capacity improvement of its trade partners, noting that China's digital and tech upgrading -- for example, in new-energy vehicles -- will provide more opportunities for these developing countries.

Song Ding, director of the China Society of Urban Economy, told the Global Times on Tuesday that the globally shining calling cards such as BYD and Huawei build a sound foundation for strengthening economic cooperation between Shenzhen and other countries. 

"For example, Huawei could not only provide tech support for Venezuela's digital transition but also experience in overcoming the US crackdown," he said.

As all countries face the same challenges amid a new round of tech reform and rising unilateralism and protectionism advocated by the US, they need international cooperation and opening-up more than ever. Only expanding opening-up and cooperation could promote new breakthroughs in sci-tech innovation, analysts said.