Shenzhen is located on the east bank of the Pearl River Estuary, with the river providing a natural boundary with Hong Kong. The city covers an area of 1,992 sq km and, as of the end of 2016, its permanent population stood at 11.91 million. In 1980, Shenzhen was designated as China’s first Special Economic Zone, serving as a pioneer and trial zone for the country’s subsequent reform, opening up and contemporary re-development.
According to the 2016 Report on China’s Urban Competitiveness, as published by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Shenzhen is ranked as number one on the mainland in terms of “overall economic competitiveness”. It is also regarded as one of China’s most important high-tech R&D and manufacturing bases, while additionally being home to the world’s third largest container port and China’s fourth largest airport. In 2016, Shenzhen’s per capita GDP was RMB167,411 (US$25,000), the highest in Guangdong
Dating back as far as 2008, the GDP share of Shenzhen’s tertiary industries has exceeded the 50% mark. In 2016, such industries accounted for 60.5% of the total. Overall, the city has four pillar industries – high-tech, financial services, modern logistics and the cultural sector. In the case of its high-tech industries, their overall contribution has risen from RMB305.9 billion in 2010 to RMB656 billion in 2016, an average annual growth rate of 13.6%.
In 2016, 3,791 of Shenzhen’s businesses were designated as national high-tech enterprises, taking the city’s overall total to 8,037. Among these newly designated enterprises, 54% were engaged in the development of electronic information systems, 18% had a focus on advanced manufacturing and automation, while the remaining 28% were spread across six other technological sectors – biotechnology and new pharmaceuticals, new energy and energy conservation, resources and the environment, aviation and aerospace, new materials and high-tech services.
For 2016, Shenzhen’s exports accounted for 39.7% of all of Guangdong’s exports and 11.3% of China’s total exports. In the latter case, it has been the largest single contributor among all the mainland cities for 24 consecutive years. In terms of the total value of the city’s exports, 51.2% was derived from the high-tech sector.
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