Shen­zhen reaches for the sky for growth

Shanghai Daily - - BUSINESS - MACRO-ECON­OMY (Xin­hua)

BIRTH­DAY wishes and mar­riage pro­pos­als are of­ten dis­played on the huge out­door elec­tronic bill­board of KingKey Fi­nan­cial Cen­ter, Shen­zhen’s se­cond-high­est sky­scraper. This land­mark build­ing, com­pleted in 2011 with a height of 441.88 me­ters, of­fers a spec­tac­u­lar view of the sprawl­ing me­trop­o­lis.

To­day, Shen­zhen’s sky­line is dot­ted with over 100 sky­scrapers, 10 of which are over 300 me­ters high. The city ranks among the world’s top three cities for most sky­scrapers ac­cord­ing to Chi­nese web­site gaoloumi.com.

In less than four decades, Shen­zhen has trans­formed from a sleepy fish­ing town into a for­est of sky­scrapers.

“The city was a town of fish­ing ponds and des­o­late lands when I was sent to work here in 1982,” re­called Wang Yu­gang in his 70s, a re­tired em­ployee of a state-owned con­struc­tion com­pany who came to work in Shen­zhen as the con­struc­tion su­per­vi­sor of the famed In­ter­na­tional Trade Cen­ter Build­ing.

Two years af­ter Shen­zhen was an­nounced as China’s first Eco­nomic Zone in 1982, ur­ban plan­ners hatched the idea of build­ing China’s tallest sky­scraper. That same year, con­struc­tion of the 160-me­ter In­ter­na­tional Trade Cen­ter Build­ing be­gan.

The pace of its con­struc­tion im­pressed the coun­try as it was com­pleted in only three years. Since then, “Shen­zhen speed” be­came syn­ony­mous with China’s re­form and open­ing up.

Over the past few decades, each new tower has re­de­fined the city sky­line. The fast-evolv­ing sky­line of Shen­zhen serves as a time­line of it’s his­tory.

In 1996, the 383.5-me­ter Di­wang Build­ing was com­pleted, which was at the time the tallest build­ing in Asia. In 2011, the 441.8-me­ter-high KingKey Fi­nan­cial Cen­ter was fin­ished and in 2015, the Ping An In­ter­na­tional Fi­nance Cen­ter with a height of nearly 600 me­ters dom­i­nated the sky­line.

Shen­zhen’s tallest sky­scraper ex­panded from 160 me­ters to 380 me­ters in 10 years and only five years to reach 600 me­ters.

“Com­pared with other first­tier cities like Bei­jing, Shang­hai, and Guangzhou, Shen­zhen has a big pop­u­la­tion with rel­a­tively lit­tle land,” said Guo Wanda who works with the China De­vel­op­ment In­sti­tute based in Shen­zhen.

“This is part of the rea­son why sky­scrapers of­fer a so­lu­tion to the prob­lem.”

As China’s first test­ing ground for its mar­ket econ­omy, Shen­zhen has be­come a tech­nol­ogy cen­ter and fi­nan­cial hub.

“There will be more land­mark sky­scrapers and the idea of a ‘ris­ing sky­line for growth’ will con­tinue to be high­lighted in the city’s fu­ture growth and de­vel­op­ment,” said Guo.

“Sky­scrapers have be­come an in­evitable part of Shen­zhen.”

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