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Shenzhen, Guangdong Province, People´s Republic of China

Located adjacent to Hong Kong, Shenzhen was established as China´s first Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in 1980. In just under four decades, Shenzhen has transformed from a small fishing village with a population of  30,000 to  an international, modern city with a competitive economy, a world-class infrastructure and facilities, a desirable ecological environment, a well-developed civil life, and a sound business and legal system. Widely recognized as a modern marvel of development, today Shenzhen serves and administers a population of approximately 18 million, including world-class talent from around China and the rest of the globe, and has taken its place as one of China´s four Tier 1 cities.   

For its first three decades, Shenzhen made a name for itself globally as one of the most efficient and effective manufacturing centers in the world.  Still, today, it can confidently be said that nearly every smart phone is either manufactured directly in Shenzhen, or contains parts that were manufactured in Shenzhen.  In recent years, Shenzhen is at the head of China´s shift towards an idea economy, focusing on innovation and development of new technology as opposed to solely relying on manufacturing.  Shenzhen´s strong innovation capabilities, continued stable development, and excellent industrial structure are all key factors that have earned it the title of China´s most innovative and entrepreneurial city.

In addition to fostering growth in its four  historic pillar sectors, which includes hi-tech manufacturing, logistics, finance, and the cultural industry, Shenzhen also supports an industrial environment that is conducive to emerging industries like information technology, internet, biology & biotechnology, new materials, new energy, and the creative industry.  The entrepreneurial and innovative environment is supported by the business environment created by the city´s SEZ status; the presence of some of China´s most internationally-known companies like Tencent, Huawei, ZTE, and BGI; and capabilities made possible by the city´s industrial environment like agile manufacturing, research & development, and extensive capital markets.  The favorable investment environment has also made it possible for Shenzhen to attract investors from all over the world.  275 of the Fortune Global 500 companies have operations or investments in Shenzhen, and some of the world´s most recognizable technology companies like Apple, Microsoft, Qualcomm, and Samsung maintain research and development facilities in the city. 

Since the establishment of the SEZ in 1980, Shenzhen has maintained an average annual GDP growth rate of 23%. In 2016, the city’s GDP totaled over $280 billion USD, representing a 9% growth from the previous year - the fastest growth rate among China´s four Tier 1 cities.   Over 40% of the city´s GDP can be attributed to the industrial output of the city´s emerging industries , which also contributed 53% to it´s GDP growth in 2016.  $11.5 billion USD, or ~4.1% of GDP, was spent on research and development in 2016.  Shenzhen´s GDP per capita exceeds $24,000 USD. 

In addition to being an economic powerhouse, Shenzhen is a modern, livable city and a wonderful tourist destination, with strong culture and attractive ecological environment with seasonal flowers, beaches, and grasslands.