Shenzhen’s special economic zone is playing catch-up, it seems, to its own potential. Following reports of a recent surge in foreign investment, mostly from Hong Kong-registered companies, comes data showing that foreign trade in Qianhai surged 40% in the first half of the year.
Driving the growth appears to be a shift from other parts of the city, largely thanks to Qianhai’s status as a special bonded zone. Online purchases of bonded imports increased by 33.4%. Yet this was nothing compared to the surge in parallel imports of vehicles, which shot up 11.8 times YoY.
Much of the change is being driven by a new approach of the city’s Customs authority. A spokesperson told local media Customs uses an “Internet + Online Inspection” platform to conduct daily monitoring, and “organically embeds” enforcement into the production and operation of enterprises based in the zone. This not only improves supervision efficiency, but also reduces the costs. Pilot enterprises claim to have saved millions of yuan so far.