This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone. Shenzhen’s exports, starting from Shekou 41 years ago, has taken first place among Chinese cities for a successive 27 years.
In 2019, the city did 2.98 trillion yuan (US$424 billion) worth of foreign trade.
Of that, exports made up more than half, 1.67 trillion yuan, a rise of 2.7 percent, and ranking 1st for the 27th consecutive year among major Chinese cities, statistics from Shenzhen Customs showed.
In the 1980s, the city had formed an export-based economy. In 1987, Shenzhen took third place in Chinese city exports and in 1988 it advanced to second place.
Since 1993, Shenzhen’s foreign trade has been in the first place.
The city’s foreign trade has featured three stages that have coincided with the country’s overall economic development, the environment of the overseas market, and the country’s opening-up policies that played irreplaceable roles for Shenzhen’s development.
In the early stage, between 1979 and 1992, Shenzhen built up its export-oriented economy through opening up, building ports, inviting investment, establishing bonded zones, and cultivating foreign trade companies.
Statistics show the city’s trade in 1979 was US$16.7 million. It increased to US$23.5 billion in 1992, surging 61 percent annually on average. Exports and imports reached US$12 billion and US$11.5 billion respectively, both at a rate of more than 60 percent on average every year.
Between 1992 and 2013, especially after China’s admission into the WTO in 2001, Shenzhen’s foreign trade expanded quickly and reached US$100 billion in 2003.
It jumped the thresholds of US$200 billion, US$300 billion, US$400 billion in 2006, 2010, and 2011. In 2012, it hit US$466.8 billion.
Since 2013, Shenzhen’s foreign trade has been in a stable growth period. It embraced the opportunities of further opening up and reform and faced challenges of international financial crises.
In recent years, exports, especially those of private enterprises, have shown strong resilience. The export of sole proprietary products and technologies like mobile phones (Xiaomi, oppo, Vivo, Huawei, and one plus), drones(DJI), and robotics became strong, spurring the export of general trade.