Shenzhen has laid out its action plan for leading the country’s next stage of growth, filling in details of a sketch provided by Beijing that had previously left many wondering what exactly a Pioneering Zone for Socialism with Chinese Characteristics might look like.
The action plan, coming four months after the State Council released the big plan, is focused on the short term for its first stage. It is to build a “world-class city renowned for innovation” by 2025. That job alone will require no fewer than 127 measures to be rolled out, in three main tranches, covering a wide range of activities in science and innovation, infrastructure, civilization, education, healthcare and environmental protection.
The first section separately lists out seven big projects. They are: further reform of the Qianhai free trade zone; construction of a Comprehensive National Science Center; construction of the Shenzhen-Hong Kong Science and Technology Innovation Cooperation Center (in Lok Ma Chau); comprehensive reform of its pilot zones; use of the legislative power of its Special Economic Zone; reform in management of international talent; and reform in its stock-issuance registration system.
The second section involves more detailed measures in eight aspects, accounting for more than 100 out of the 127 measures. The first is to speed up innovation by building the Guangming Science City, Xili International Science and Education City, an international science information centre, and an intellectual property exchange centre.
The second aspect is to construct world-class competitive modern industries, including in information technology, bioengineering and pharmaceuticals, smart manufacturing, digital currency and mobile payments, among others.
Third, reforms currently underway will be prioritized for acceleration, including the pilot zone of international business environment, reform of state-owned enterprises, pilot zone of foreign exchange management, digitalization of public services, implementation of credit supervision reform, pilot education system reform, as well as the reform of natural resource management
Fourth, efforts will be made in further opening up the city through infrastructure, including ports linking Shenzhen and Hong Kong, the construction of Ocean City, and various projects in the aviation, railway and highway sectors.
Fifth, efforts will be made to build up a “democratic legal environment”. Yet this is not what most Western analysts might be hoping for. As explained by the plan, this will be achieved by building up the city’s Social Credit Rating system, which comes down to creating a smart city and efficient management of a GBA big data center.
The sixth and seventh aspects, which involve culture and livelihoods respectively, will see construction of culture facilities, preservation of cultural heritages, expansion in scale of primary and secondary schools, establishment of first-class universities and trials in advanced medical technology.
The last aspect of the second section refers to efforts in protecting the ecology of the city such as developing green finance.
The third section of the action plan involves a few measures to “fully strengthen the leadership and construction of the party” and “encourage the participation of the whole society”.