Tag Archives: Shenzhen

Intercity Railway to open Nov. 1

The region’s biggest and most important infrastructure project of the year, if not the decade, will open on November 1, it was announced today. Originally scheduled to open on National Day, October 1, the Guangzhou-Dongguan-Shenzhen Intercity Railway was forced to delay its launch after some technical issues came up that had to be resolved. But these have now been fixed.

After 11 years of construction, the railway line is a vital connector of 15 stations, all key nodes along the eastern coast of the Greater Bay Area. Running through its three biggest cities, in its first phase of development the railway will start at the Shenzhen Airport in Baoan and run up to Xintang station, on the border of Guangzhou and Dongguan. Sometime next year it will be extended to Qianhai in the south. The next stage thereafter will be to connect further northward, to Guangzhou East and then Guangzhou Airport and Guangzhou North. 

In the meantime, the Xintang station will connect with the old Guangshen Railway, enabling passengers to switch trains and go to Guangzhou East, which is in the Tianhe business district. Read our explainer here, with maps.

Shenzhen opens new ‘rent control’ housing

Shenzhen’s Housing and Construction Bureau opened applications online this week for 248 sets of renovated apartments in Tanglang City Plaza. These are not just any kind of apartments, however: their rents are set at a monthly baseline averaging RMB110 per sqm (slightly adjustable for bigger units and higher floors), which is significantly below the market average of RMB139.6 per sqm in the surrounding Nanshan district, home to many of the city’s tech companies.

Moreover, here’s the kicker: rents in these units will be controlled. Annual fluctuations will not exceed 5%, up or down. Successful applicants can take leases of 1-3 years, which can be renewed, but for a maximum total of five years.

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Shenzhen to build 1.7 million flats

Shenzhen’s government has released a formal notice of its intention to reform the city’s housing market, which will see 1.7 million new homes built over the remainder of the GBA masterplan ending in 2035.

According to local media, Shenzhen will bring this supply onto the market in a phased, manner, balancing the need for government guidance and market participation. At its core, it seems there is only one red line: the supply of land will ensure a strict 40:60 ratio is maintained between public and commercial housing. Public housing will include apartments set aside for “talent”, as well as subsidized ownership and rentals.

In short, Shenzhen is going to be more like Singapore and nothing like Hong Kong.

The “Interim Provisions”, which have been released for public comment – no, really, they have – clarify that the government will “comprehensively guide” the supply of various types of housing land, yet will mainly undertake the task of renting public housing land. In order to “mobilize the enthusiasm of market participants” and adhere to the basic principle of “benefit sharing,” market entities (developers) will be responsible for building public housing for sale, yet “adopting agreements and transfer in accordance with national policies”. This is to encourage market participants to “actively participate,” understand.

Watch this space.

In Shenzhen, vocational education steps up

Shenzhen is renowned as a city of doers rather than thinkers. Despite the presence of Huawei, Tencent, DJI, and many other highly successful technology firms, its universities lack national and global recognition. The government appears determined to address this perceived shortcoming in typical leapfrog manner, wooing Tsinghua and Peking universities from Beijing to set up joint-venture postgraduate projects in Shenzhen, as well as one of the world’s most prestigious names, Cambridge University, which is looking at an opportunity in the Qianhai special economic zone.

However, Shenzhen is nothing if not a city of pragmatists, and its leaders recognize that a practice-makes-perfect approach to development has proven strengths. While education officials pursue the world’s leading academic minds, they are also pouring resources into vocational education institutes. And they have no qualms experimenting with “dual-track” approaches to learning – research and application-based – to see what works best.

Their latest experiment is Shenzhen Technology University, which welcomed its first batch of 807 freshmen on September 15. This university, which was only approved by the Ministry of Education last December, is seeking to establish a new model for vocational education at the undergraduate level and above. What this means, in practical terms, is it wants to attract the brightest minds in technology, and put them to work here in the most effective way.

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Developers rush to cash in on Shenzhen’s new status

It is known as the “818” policy, after the day on which Shenzhen was given its status as a Pioneering Zone for Socialism with Chinese Characteristics. Since August 18, the city’s property developers have been celebrating by releasing a flood of new homes onto the market, raising expectations of a surge in housing-based prosperity.

So far, it hasn’t happened. New data from Shenzhen shows that the supply of new homes in September expanded by nearly 150% month-on-month, as developers brought 533,500 sqm of space onto the market. Yet transactions dropped, totaling 2,748, down 9.55% over August.

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MICE industry braces for Shenzhen World

In the days before Alibaba, the MICE business was a major driver of development in the Greater Bay Area. Right from the start of Reform and Opening, face-to-face contacts were necessary to grease the wheels of Socialism with Chinese Characteristics. Buyers would fly in from around the world to meet local suppliers, spending precious foreign exchange at hotels, restaurants, and karaoke lounges, before ordering vast quantities of goods from Chinese factories. The rise of e-commerce has curbed the industry’s growth, but Meetings, Incentives, Conventions, and Exhibitions still generate sales worth billions of dollars every year for the 11 GBA cities, each of which has a Convention and Exhibition Center (or two) sitting proudly in a prominent location.

Shenzhen, the newly anointed Pioneering Zone for Socialism with Chinese Characteristics, is about to open such a center that, its leaders hope, will redefine the industry. It’s called the Shenzhen World Exhibition & Convention Center. 

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EU boosts Shenzhen exports, up 11%

The US-China trade war appears to be a diminishing concern for city leaders in Shenzhen, judging by the latest data from the city’s Customs department.

According to the Shenzhen Daily, in August, Shenzhen’s exports shot up 11.1% YoY, bringing its total for the first eight months to RMB 1.4 trillion, up 5.5%. Driving this was trade with the EU and countries along the Belt and Road Initiative. Although it is now standard practice in mainland media reports to not mention trade with the US, the data shows trade with the EU came in at RMB 28.93 billion in August, up a healthy 25.2% YoY. Countries along the Belt and Road Initiative were RMB 58.37 billion, up 9.2% YoY.

Export tax rebates appear to have helped, as exports of Christmas products and ceramic products increased by more than 80%, while household electrical appliances rose by more than 20%.

Private enterprises continued to take market share from SOEs. In August, the split went to 60/40, up 3.6 percentage points from July.

Food held up the import numbers. In August, agricultural products rose 17.1%. Fresh fruits and nuts, meat and chop, seawater products and other consumer products increased by more than 20%.

Shenzhen IT shopping area goes 5G

It seems only fitting that the neighbourhood of Shenzhen once renowned for knockoffs of IT gadgets is today the first to switch over to 5G. 

Huaqiangbei, which has cleaned up its piracy act in recent years, is still a must-visit place in Shenzhen for anyone wanting to see what a Chinese electronics market looks like. The place is insanely packed and carries every piece of equipment that could remotely be called electronic. Now, it is the country’s first “city block” to be fully 5G-operational, which allows it to host demonstrations of all sorts of new, high-bandwidth applications.

According to the Shenzhen Daily News, the three major telco operators have set up the main base stations in the area and are now laying indoor sub-base stations inside the major malls and shops. These include SEG, Huaqiang, Gome, Suning, Shundian, Maoye and others.

Already working are some outdoor applications around the market’s main areas, while an indoor “experience pavilion” is under way. Some of these include: VR-based interactive games, 360-degree 8K panoramic VR live broadcast, remote driving, VR-based cloud games, remote ultrasound diagnosis, 3D vision screening, AR industrial inspection, AI face recognition.

We will get across their soon and shoot a video of it. Stay tuned.

Shenzhen splashes startup cash

Shenzhen wants everyone to be an entrepreneur, it seems. The city has doubled basic allowances for “startups” and widened their definition to include, well, just about the entire population that works for itself, rather than for corporate titans such as Huawei, Tencent, and Ping An, from what we can see.

According to the Shenzhen Daily News, the basic subsidy for “start-up enterprises”, which can be individuals, has been doubled, from RMB 5,000 to RMB 10,000 yuan. In the case of “partnerships”, i.e., limited liability companies, it goes from RMB 50,000 to RMB 100,000.

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GBA Briefs: 19/09/19

Alipay in Macau: Alipay has launched a version of its service for Macau residents. Local users can bind their Macau bank accounts to it and pay each other as well as local merchants. Read more.

Clean Shenzhen: The city has retained its clean-air ranking, running in third place between Haikou (Hainan) and Lhasa (Tibet). Read more. 

Dongguan going digital: Huawei has won a contract to help the Dongguan government “go digital”. It is worth RMB 2.7 billion. Read more.