In 1970 and the same city in 2010…..
3 April 2012
This is the ancient Chinese city of Shenzhen, on the South East coast of China and dates back as far as 5000BC. In 1979 this small fishing city about the size of Leicester had a population of 350,000 however in 1980 it was granted special economic zone status and with government support, by 2010 had grown to a population the size of 10 million people, the 5th biggest in China and 29th in the world.
Between 1980-1997 growth averaged at around 15% and since then has steadied at an impressive 5% (we would kill for that in the UK right now.) In 2009 the City has a GDP of $130bn meaning this city has an economy comparable to New Zealand or Hungary. Its close links with Hong Kong allows the city to have a vast trading and financial sector as well as manufacturing and high tech. However from the UK perspective the largest growing sector is service industry, which of course the UK is dependent on, more evidence that the UK needs to diversity as developing states develop their own service industry.
However the city does have some problems, high unemployment for example, however the city has been given every chance it needs with high speed rail, sound road networks, air links and higher education. It is said the 20% of Chinas PHD holders have worked in Shenzhen, can you think of any UK city that comes near any of this? Thought not.