He was speaking at a meeting in Shenzhen on October 14 to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the founding of the four SEZs.
A panoramic view of Shenzhen.
Shenzhen is the most prominent of the first four special economic zones, the other three being Zhuhai, Xiamen, and Shantou. In four decades, Shenzhen has developed from a small fishing village into a global metropolis. Now it is one of the most developed cities in Asia, with its GDP surpassing that of Singapore in 2019, to rank 21st in the world. Its GDP was RMB 2.69 trillion (US $399.42 billion) in 2019, an increase of 12,000 times from what it was in 1979. Its per capita GDP has increased from RMB 606 in 1979 to RMB 103,489 in 2019.
Shenzhen could not have been able to become what it is now had it not been for the path it has taken over the past 40 years. As President Xi said in his speech, what underlies this path is the recognition that development is of paramount importance and that socialism with Chinese characteristics can be improved through reform.
With this right orientation and adherence to the guidance of the Party’s leadership, Shenzhen has sought breakthroughs in whatever areas it believes might advance its economic development.
This has facilitated its continuous opening-up at a higher level than its counterparts in other parts of the country, and its higher-level opening-up has increased its attractiveness to global capital and advanced technologies.
It is no exaggeration to say that Shenzhen’s rapid and high-level development has proved that reform and opening-up is the right policy.
Now as the country is at a crucial transition stage from high-speed growth to high-quality growth, with economic restructuring underway to cater to the need to meet the challenge of the changing international situation and the requirement for higher-level domestic development, the SEZs must continue to play their pioneering roles.
SEZs such as Shenzhen must remain committed to opening up on all fronts as the top priority, take innovation as the most important driving force and talent as the most important resource.
Just as President Xi said, reform is always on a bumpy road and there are always problems to solve. But with greater autonomy in some areas, Shenzhen will have much larger room to try out new ideas and blaze a trail for the country’s further development.