Experiences of Shenzhen’s high-quality development


Author: Guo Wanda, Executive Vice President of CDI

Editor’s note: Shenzhen Guangming Science City, which initially covered just 10 square kilometres, now covers close to 100 sq km and has become a key centre for China’s comprehensive national science programme due to its important role in Shenzhen’s high-quality development. Dr. Guo Wanda, Executive Vice President of China Development Institute, provided some insights into Shenzhen’s high-quality development, using Guangming Science City as an example.

High-quality development implies the adoption of higher standards and tougher requirements than standard processes, which in turn warrant a transition from investment-driven to innovation-driven development. Guangming Science City exemplifies the new model of innovation-driven development, thanks to its integration of basic scientific research and applied scientific development. Such development has been advanced through the convergence of industry, innovation, investment, and policy, allowing the construction of modern industrial systems, the reform of older systems and mechanisms, and the construction of open and inclusive innovation methods.

High-quality development also requires new development phases, new development values, and new development patterns:

  • Four decades after its “reform and opening-up”, China has transitioned from a traditional production factor intensive economy to a knowledge and science-based production factor intensive development phase.
  • The main development value is now the idea of being people-centred, in a population that aspires to live better, higher quality lives.
  • In addition, high-quality development is a prerequisite for smooth “internal and external dual circulation” – the new development pattern that was recently proposed by the central government.

The following four types of dynamics have been critical to Shenzhen’s dedication to high-quality development; they may thus also serve as lessons and inspirations for the rest of the country:

  • The dynamics between the government and the market.

The market is the main driver of growth, which makes it important to let the market play its pivotal role of resource allocation effectively. The government can, however, achieve systemic innovation to better serve as a facilitator of technological innovation, with the former being the precursor of the latter.

  • The dynamics between basic science research and industrial innovation.

Guangming Science City offers an example of basic science research, which requires government investment and guidance, propelling industrial development by means of research applications developed through interaction and collaboration among large-scale science facilities, universities, R&D institutions, and top-tier private companies.

  • The dynamics between “opening-up” and independent research.

Key technologies cannot be given or bought, instead needing to be developed through independent research; however, this does not mean working behind closed doors, but instead adhering to the principals of opening-up by attracting world-leading scientists and researchers.

  • The dynamics between talent and innovation.

Innovation and development both require human resources. A welcoming working environment equipped with proper resources and incentives will attract and retain the appropriate talent, as well as allowing the maximisation of their creativity and innovation to achieve the organic integration of talent, innovation, and industry.