Delivered to more than 800 people in Qianhai, a pilot free-trade zone in the city, here are the key points of his address:
Shenzhen a ‘global development miracle’, blueprint for future SEZs
Xi praised the citizens of the south China city and the Communist Party officials responsible for running it for their hard work over the past 40 years.
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What they had achieved in that time would have taken other countries a century, he said.
Located in Guangdong province in China’s deep south, Shenzhen is known around the world as a centre for hi-tech innovation. As China’s first SEZ it had been at the forefront of the government’s efforts to reform its economy and open it up to the rest of the world, Xi said.
Shenzhen’s economy had grown from 270 million yuan (US$40 million) in 1980 to 2.7 trillion yuan in 2019, the fifth-largest of any city in Asia, he said.
“This is a global development miracle that the Chinese people have created together,” Xi said.
China would continue to build more special economic zones based on the model of Shenzhen, which itself would continue to be a testing ground for further reforms and opening up, he said.
China’s economic transition to continue amid coronavirus uncertainty
“Global security, economic development and politics are all in a period of change. And the world has gone into a shaky and revolutionary period,” Xi said.
While the Covid-19 pandemic had led to greater protectionism and unilateralism around the world, and damaged international trade and investment, China’s economy was still transitioning, from high growth to high quality, he said.
Its future expansion and development would be driven by a stronger domestic economy and increased engagement with the rest of the world.
“We must make production, distribution, circulation and consumption more dependent on the domestic market … and meet growing internal market demands with a high-quality supply,” he said.
Innovation to remain central to China’s transformation
China should seek to lead the global technological revolution, and make innovation the primary driver of economic growth, Xi said.
As a centre for hi-tech, Shenzhen and other cities in the province were in direct competition with countries and companies around the world for the best resources and talent.
Success was dependent on “implementing new concepts and promoting high quality”, he said.
“We should take advantage of Shenzhen’s in-depth integration of industry with universities and research institutes.”
Greater Bay Area plan at heart of regional development
Shenzhen was an “important engine” for the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area plan, Xi said.
The aim of the scheme is to create a technological and financial powerhouse for southern China by linking Hong Kong, Macau, Shenzhen and eight other cities in Guangdong.
“We should make full use of the major cooperation platforms of Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macau to attract more Hong Kong and Macau youths to study, work and live in the mainland,” he said.
“We should also accelerate the construction of the intercity railway in the bay area to promote the efficient and convenient flow of people and goods.”
Xi invokes Deng, the father of modern Shenzhen
Shenzhen was designated a special economic zone in 1980, two years after China’s then paramount leader Deng Xiaoping set the country on the path to reform and opening up.
Deng said at the time that the country should “cross the river by feeling the stones”, meaning it had to be flexible to change and adapt as it grew.
“China’s [continued] reform is facing unprecedented issues,” Xi said. “The complexity, sensitivity and arduousness of advancing reforms are no less than 40 years ago.
Invoking, and updating, Deng, he said: “We must have greater political courage and wisdom and combine ‘crossing the river by feeling the stones’ with strengthened top-down design to steadily deepen reforms in important areas and pay more attention to the system.”
More from South China Morning Post:
- As it happened: Chinese President Xi Jinping marks 40 years of Shenzhen opening up with calls to deepen reform
- China’s digital powerhouse Shenzhen stands at a crossroads, 40 years after its transformation
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- China showers policy incentives on Shenzhen as Xi Jinping pushes to create model city
This article 5 takeaways from Xi Jinping’s speech during 40th anniversary visit to Shenzhen first appeared on South China Morning Post