Shenzhen SEZ, China

What Is Shenzhen SEZ, China?

Shenzhen Special Economic Zone (SEZ), China, is a leading business, innovation, and financial center in China. Shenzhen’s fast-growing economy is characterized by three industries: shipping and logistics, high technology, and financial services. Shenzhen is a world leader in shipping and supply chain and has the world's fourth busiest container port as of 2019.

Understanding Shenzhen SEZ, China

The Shenzhen SEZ is recognizable by its massive industrial parks, such as Huawei Tech City where generous R&D investment has created a global innovation center. To service the growing needs of the shipping and high-tech industries, and as a principal access point for foreign investment into mainland China from Hong Kong, Shenzhen has grown into one of the leading financial centers in China. 

The Growth of the Shenzhen SEZ

Once a small, ancient village with a population of 30,000 as recently as the 1970s, the modern city of Shenzhen has evolved into a state-of-the-art tech and financial global epicenter. In 1980, the then-Communist Party leader Deng Xiaoping designated the southern town as one of four SEZs. SEZs receive special tax benefits and preferential treatment for foreign investment. Shenzhen grew exponentially and its GDP per capita grew 33,479% from 1979 to 2019. Shenzhen's GDP surpassed U.S.$381 billion in 2019 because of its successful tech sector, and this growth exceeded that of Hong Kong and Singapore.

Since then, the city has grown and now has over 13.4 million residents. Mandarin is the official language of the zone, but Cantonese and English are widely spoken. Strategically located in Guangdong province, in the Pearl River region, and adjacent to Macau and Hong Kong, Shenzhen is a principal doorway into mainland China. Shenzhen, once considered a sweatshop mecca, is now the hi-tech home of leading Chinese tech firms such as the internet giant Tencent, telco Huawei, and the drone maker DJI. Shenzhen is also home to the Shenzhen Stock Exchange and is one of the busiest financial centers in the world.

China's Dominance in the Technology Race

China is leading the tech innovation race by investing heavily in tech R&D. The China Daily reported that over 4.2% of Shenzhen’s GDP was spent on R&D by 2020.

In April 2017, President Xi Jinping of China announced that a small agricultural area called Xiongan would be the next SEZ and is expected to become another technology and innovation hub replete tech startups, learning institutions and the latest transportation. 

Article Sources
Investopedia requires writers to use primary sources to support their work. These include white papers, government data, original reporting, and interviews with industry experts. We also reference original research from other reputable publishers where appropriate. You can learn more about the standards we follow in producing accurate, unbiased content in our editorial policy.
  1. Shenzhen Government Online. "Key Industries." Accessed July 12, 2021.

  2. Shenzhen Government Online. "Modern Logistics." Accessed July 12, 2021.

  3. Shenzhen Government Online. "Finance." Accessed July 12, 2021.

  4. Macrotrends. "Shenzhen, China Metro Area Population 1950 - 2021." Accessed July 12, 2021,

  5. The State Council, The People's Republic of China. "China Celebrates 40th Anniversary of Shenzhen SEZ, Embarking on New Journey Toward Socialist Modernization." Accessed July 12, 2021.

  6. CEIC Data. "China: GDP: Per Capita: Guangdong: Shenzhen." Accessed July 12, 2021.

  7. Longhua Government Online. "Shenzhen 2019 GDP Up 6.7%." Accessed July 12, 2021.

  8. Shenzhen Government Online. "Shenzhen Basics." Accessed July 12, 2021.

  9. China Daily. "Shenzhen Miracle to GBA Innovation." Accessed July 12, 2021.

  10. The State Council Information Office, The People's Republic of China. "China Publishes Master Plan for Xiongan New Area." Accessed July 12, 2021.