Shenzhen adheres to the strategy of building a city of culture, promotes the coordinated development of spiritual and material civilization, and speeds up the construction of a modern public cultural and sports service system. The city’s public cultural service system has been constantly improving in recent years. In 2013, Shenzhen was honored with the title of Global Model City for the Promotion of Mass Reading by UNESCO. In 2016, it was named one of China’s 10 cities of digital reading.
Currently, there are 673 public libraries across the city with a total collection of 45.93 million books and periodicals, 52 museums and memorial halls, 11 art galleries, one radio station, two television stations and three broadcasting centers.
Shenzhen has set its sights on promoting cultural innovation and the development of cultural industries. The city has won the title of "National Civilized City" for five times. A major exhibition focusing on Guangdong’s reform and opening up over the past 40 years and a special gala celebrating the 40th anniversary of China’s reform and opening up were successfully held in the city. Large-scale firework shows, variety show galas and National Day light shows showcased its brilliance as a pilot demonstration area. Shenzhen also hosted a series of events, such as China (Shenzhen) International Cultural Industries Fair, China Design Exhibition, Shenzhen International Marathon, FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 (Shenzhen), Shenzhen (International) Science Film Week, Shenzhen Fashion Week, Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism\Architecture, the finals of the third Cross-Straits Student Baseball League, the China Cup International Regatta, Shenzhen Design Week, Global Design Award, Shenzhen Belt & Road International Music Festival and Reading Month. At present, the city has more than 100,000 cultural enterprises with over 1 million employees, among which more than 3,100 are enterprises above designated scale and over 40 enterprises listed at home and abroad. The added value of the cultural industry accounted for more than 7 percent of the city’s GDP. The cultural industry has become an important engine for Shenzhen to accelerate the transformation of its economic development pattern and promote its rapid and healthy social and economic development.
Sea World Culture and Arts Center and Shenzhen Museum of Contemporary Art and Urban Planning were opened in recent years. The Nanshan Museum and the Longgang cultural center complex were also put into use. Construction of 10 new cultural facilities are in full swing, while the Shenzhen World Exhibition and Convention Center has opened its doors to welcome guests from home and abroad. The city has added 80 new fitness facilities and 10 community sports parks. The city boasts more than 33,000 social sports instructors. An online tourist center was officially launched. In 2019, Shenzhen athletes won three golds and three silvers in world-class sports events, among whom are Liu Hong who won the gold medal of women’s 20km race walking at the IAAF World Athletics Championships and the gold medal of women’s 50km race walking at the National Race Walking Grand Prix with a new world record, and Song Yiling, the champion of the IFSC Climbing World Cup. The city’s athletes brought home 39 golds, 44 silvers and 49 bronzes from the 2nd Youth Games of the People’s Republic of China.
Sectors with a Competitive Edge
Shenzhen respects the decisive role the market plays in cultural industry resources allocation. With importance attached to the leading role of creativity and the supporting role of technology, Shenzhen has developed a competitive edge in sectors including creative design, animation and games, cultural tourism, high-end printing, gold and jewelry, and cultural exhibition. As the first city in China named a UNESCO City of Design, Shenzhen has distinctive advantages in sectors including graphic design, industrial design, architectural design, interior design and fashion design and takes up a large domestic market share. A pioneering and leading city in animation and games, it is home to industry heavyweights such as Tencent, Fantawild Animation, GDC and iDreamSky. Cultural tourism is another sector Shenzhen takes pride in with OCT and Fantawild Tourism constantly listed among the top 30 of the country’s cultural enterprises, whose number of visitors ranked fourth and fifth in the world respectively. The output value of Shenzhen’s printing sector tops all Chinese cities with several local printing enterprises entering the list of top 100 printing enterprises in China. Shenzhen is also the largest gold and jewelry manufacturing base in China, taking up more than 60 percent of the market share. With the Shenzhen Cultural Assets and Equity Exchange established in 2009 and the operation of the China Culture Industry Investment Fund, which has Shenzhen as its second-largest shareholder, Shenzhen has become one of the most important centers for the trade of cultural assets and equities as well as investment and financing services in China. Shenzhen’s cultural exhibition sector also holds national significance. It has created the China (Shenzhen) International Cultural Industries Fair, the only comprehensive cultural expo of international significance in China, which serves as both an important engine for China’s cultural industry development and a key platform for Chinese culture to go global.
Cosponsored by the Guangdong Provincial Government, Shenzhen Municipal Government and State institutions, the annual China (Shenzhen) International Cultural Industries Fair (ICIF) has been certified by the UFI. It is the only State-level cultural expo in China.
City of Design
Shenzhen was accepted as a member of the Creative Cities Network by UNESCO on Nov. 19, 2008, and named as a UNESCO City of Design, becoming the first Chinese city to win the honor. It was the sixth city in the world to earn the title. In recent years, Shenzhen designers have enhanced communication and cooperation with foreign designers. While focusing on the development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area and building a regional cultural core city, Shenzhen is striving to promote Shenzhen Design to the world and become a capital of innovation and creativity with global influence.
Shenzhen Design Week
Shenzhen Design Week is a grand international design event hosted by the Shenzhen Municipal Government, organized by the Shenzhen Innovative and Creative Design Development Office and supported by the UNESCO Creative Cities Network and the city’s various design associations, institutions, colleges and district governments. The slogan of “Design Creates Future” reflects the city’s attitude towards design. Themed “Virtual Design, Infinite Creativity,” the 2020 Shenzhen Design Week that lasted for 16 days attracted over 800 designers from more than 20 countries and regions to enjoy the beauty of design online.
Shenzhen is accelerating its pace to build itself into a regional cultural hub and a modern city of civilization which showcases China’s cultural soft power. The Shenzhen Cultural Innovation Development Plan 2020 was formulated with the aim of fostering a batch of iconic international cultural brands. As one of the key projects in the Plan, Shenzhen City Culture Menu includes the year-round representative cultural events in Shenzhen and displays the cultural achievements made by the city. The aim is to build a high-quality and sustainable urban public cultural service system available to all citizens which presents exciting cultural events every month and brings joy throughout the year.
Dafen Oil Painting Village
Located in Buji Subdistrict, Longgang District, the 4-square-kilometer village is the world’s largest mass producer of oil paintings, essentially an art factory. Originally conceived by Hong Kong businessman Huang Jiang, who began production with a dozen artists in 1989, the village has grown in leaps and bounds over the past 30 years. Today, about 15,000 artists and craftsmen work in more than 40 factories and 800 studios and workshops here.
Guanlan Printmaking Base
Located in Niuhu Community in Guanlan Subdistrict, Longhua District, Guanlan Printmaking Base perfectly combines modern printmaking with traditional Hakka buildings. It has become a State-level model base with a sound environment and good economic returns.
Shenzhen Belt & Road International Music Festival
It was hosted by the Shenzhen Municipal Government and China Musicians Association, and organized by Shenzhen Municipal Bureau of Culture, Radio, Television, Tourism and Sports and Shenzhen International Culture Association. Themed “Connecting China and Overseas, Communicating with the World,” the festival aims to enhance communication among different cultures and music circles. It has been held three times since 2017.