(DGIwire) – The new year is off to an auspicious start in Southern China’s technology hub. On January 4th, 2017, the cities of Hong Kong and Shenzhen announced plans to build a joint technology park on their shared border. The park, called The Hong Kong/Shenzhen Innovation and Technology Park, will cover a massive 1.2 million meters and will be devoted to giving the most forward-thinking companies a place to incubate their most innovative ideas. Robotics, biomedicine, financial technology, and smart cities are all sectors in which the park hopes to encourage growth.
In a statement released January 4, 2017, the financier of the park, Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation (HKSTP), said that they hope the park will provide “important infrastructure which will shape the future of Hong Kong’s information and technology development, and will attract the biggest tech companies in the world along with higher education facilities thanks to being close to both Hong Kong and [Shenzhen] the Chinese mainland.”
The technology park is the second major economic partnership between Hong Kong and Shenzhen in a matter of months. In November of 2016, international publications like Fortune Magazine heralded a “long-awaited stock trading link between the Hong Kong and Shenzhen exchanges.” The deal sought to “further open up China’s capital markets to global investors and giving them access to some of its fastest-growing companies.”
In conjunction with the stock exchange deal, this technology park deal seems to signify that Shenzhen–a place few people outside of China had heard of only a few years ago– is ready to not only act as Hong Kong’s access point to mainland China, but also serve as a global power player in its own right. The past decade has skyrocketed the once sleepy city of 30,000 into the stratosphere of technology development with a population of 18 million.
“Shenzhen’s growth as a tech hub is rocketing,” says Jex Ng, managing director of South China for Jones Lang LaSalle, told the South China Morning Post on January 3, 2017. “Shenzhen has attracted the best talent from around China, or even from the rest of the world”. That same article described Shenzhen as the “pinnacle of China’s booming property market” and the “country’s own ‘Silicon Valley’.”
Taken in the context of this development, the technology park deal seems to be more significant for Shenzhen than for Hong Kong. Some business leaders in Shenzhen are optimistic about the furious rate of advancement, but want to keep development in line with the welfare of the people. Pu Gu, co-founder and Executive Vice President of the publicly-held Shenzhen Bauing Construction Group, and Professor in the Business School of the Guangdong University of Foreign Studies (GDUFS), feels that business leaders have a duty to their people to play a specific role in this singular moment in history.
“In my eyes, development must always be undertaken through the lens of ‘we’,” says Pu Gu. “I truly believe that in China a new time of peace and order are coming. In my leadership role at Shenzhen Bauing Construction I am ready to recommit myself to a vision of the future where all can partake in reaping the fruits of our massive national labor. It will be a time that balances the necessity of development with the good of the people.”
Photos: Wuhan Intercontinental Hotel; Changsha Library; Pu Gu