Shenzhen is a city born to innovate. The first stock in China was issued in Shenzhen, and the first land auction in the country was held in Shenzhen as well. Since the city became a special economic zone, it has played a role as an innovator to spread new ideas and as a pioneer to explore the path of reform and opening up in China. By issuing rules on its national innovation demonstration zone and rolling out 10 projects to bolster innovation, Shenzhen has become a forerunner in promoting innovation-driven development when China’s economy steps into the new normal. Shenzhen is now widely known as a City of Makers and a City of Innovation. The 2019 Shenzhen Global Investment Promotion Conference witnessed the on-site signing of 128 major projects with a total investment of 560 billion yuan, demonstrating Shenzhen’s strong appeal to investors.
Shenzhen’s innovation capability has been strengthened. The China National GeneBank has been put into operation, becoming one of the largest gene banks in the world. Eleven laboratories led by Nobel Prize winners, Turing Award winners and Fields Medal winners, 12 newly established basic research institutions, 5 manufacturing innovation centers and 10 overseas innovation centers were established in Shenzhen. The construction of Shenzhen Bay Laboratory has made a major breakthrough. A total of 2,642 innovation carriers are based in Shenzhen, including 85 set up last year. The city won 20 national science and technology awards in 2019. Meanwhile, Shenzhen has sped up the high-quality development of high-tech industries including 5G, AI, 4K/8K ultra-high-definition video, integrated circuit and biological medicine. Shenzhen was approved to build a national AI innovation and application pilot area. Three industrial clusters, including new display devices, intelligent manufacturing equipment and AI, were selected into the national strategic emerging industry cluster development project. The added value of the city’s emerging industries increased by 8.8 percent, and the added value of its advanced manufacturing industry accounted for more than 70 percent of the added value of industries above a designated size.
Shenzhen’s innovation-driven industries are growing rapidly. It took the second spot in a comprehensive ranking of national high-tech zones, with the index of sustainable development capacity ranking first. The planning and construction of Guangming Science City, Shenzhen Bay Super Headquarters Base, a headquarters base for strategic emerging industries in Liuxiandong and several industrial parks in Bao’an, Longgang and Pingshan have been expedited. The city hosted the 19th China Hi-Tech Fair, the first China (Shenzhen) Innovation & Entrepreneurship International Competition, the Final Competition of the National University Cybersecurity Association, the 3rd China Quality Conference, UNLEASH 2019 and the 2019 Shenzhen Smart City Forum with International Friendship Cities and debuted its intelligent and self-driving buses. Currently, there are 17,000 State-level high-tech companies based in Shenzhen, while 2,500 of them were set up last year. The output value of the high-tech industry reached 2,627.79 billion yuan, with a year-on-year growth of 10.08 percent, while the added value of the industry reached 923.08 billion yuan, up 11.26 percent year on year.
Shenzhen’s innovation ecosystem has been improved constantly. The city has introduced new rules to protect intellectual property rights (IPR) and set up an IPR management agency and an IPR court. An IPR protection center was put into use in Nanshan District, and the city will build a State-level IPR operation center. The city has set up special funds to guide angel investments and lower the risks for enterprises to pledge their IPR for financing. Three new national innovation and entrepreneurship demonstration bases were set up in Shenzhen last year. The city has introduced work regulations for talents, set up a Talent Day and built a talent park. It also set up a State-owned talent group to support its innovation-driven development.
Shenzhen has formed industrial clusters featuring independent innovation of enterprises. The formation of local innovative enterprise clusters is the most important characteristic of Shenzhen in terms of innovation. Shenzhen is the cradle of renowned enterprises such as Huawei, Tencent, DJI and Ping An, and home to eight Fortune 500 companies. The number of Fortune 500 companies that are based in Shenzhen ranks 6th in the world and 3rd in China. In particular, the number of private enterprises on the Fortune 500 list ranks first in China. In 2019, among the top 10 companies that filed the most PCT patent applications in the world, two were from Shenzhen, namely Huawei (No. 1) and ZTE (No. 5). A number of rising companies, including DJI, Mindray and Orbbec, have become the key players in their respective fields. The total number of State-level high-tech enterprises in Shenzhen reached 17,000 last year, ranking 2nd among large and medium-sized cities in China.