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Diverse Shenzhen celebrates 35 years of inclusiveness

Chai Hua
Updated: Aug 26,2015 7:53 AM     China Daily

The modern international city of Shenzhen, in South China, continues to rise as the city celebrates the 35th anniversary of the establishment of the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone.

Former leader Deng Xiaoping mapped out an area of the city in the 1970s and designated it a special economic zone in 1980. To date, the zone has realized an average annual growth of 23.5 percent, accumulating more than 12 trillion yuan ($1.8 trillion) in GDP.

Its development became an economic juggernaut based on inclusiveness.

There is a famous saying in Shenzhen: “You become a Shenzhener once you come to the city”, a sentence that welcomes everyone who moves to the city to follow their dreams, including Pony Ma Huateng, founder of Tencent Holdings.

“I grew up, studied and established a business in Shenzhen, so I have witnessed how a small fishing village became today’s modern metropolis,” Ma said on Aug 25 at a meeting to celebrate Shenzhen’s birthday.

“The city’s openness, inclusiveness and encouragement of creativity leave the deepest impression,” Ma said. “Shenzhen is a city where young people can realize their ambitions.”

Up to June, Shenzhen-based Tencent was in the top five Internet companies in terms of market value in the world. In the first half of this year, Tencent achieved revenue of 45.8 billion yuan ($7.5 billion).

So far, Shenzhen has more than 6,700 high-tech enterprises and 1,146 innovative startups, according to government statistics.

While the city was devoted to drawing talent and excellence from around China, many foreign enterprises were also attracted by its inclusive attitude toward startups.

MyOffer, which helps international students with university placements, overseas internships and career development, recently moved its office from London to Shenzhen.

Hao Philip, the company founder and CEO, said the city’s dynamic environment and government support are the major reasons for the relocation.

Besides, its location has become a natural advantage, Hao said.

“Shenzhen’s geographic location is also a key reason why we decided to relocate from London this year. Shenzhen sits between the Chinese mainland, Hong Kong and Macao, as well as the whole of Southeast Asia,” Hao said.

However, Shenzhen’s rapid development also faces many challenges. Education is one of the most pressing.

Xu Yangsheng, president of The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shenzhen, proposed that Shenzhen should take full advantage of Hong Kong’s education resources and use them as a channel to attract more international talent.

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