Shenzhen is a major design hub and one of the leading design cities in China. The city, which used to be an ordinary border town neighbouring Hong Kong, was chosen as China's first special economic zone on August 26th, 1980. As the vanguard spearheading China's reform and opening-up policy, the city has been regarded as the model for the country's economic success over the past three decades. The concept of modern Chinese design was gradually created in Shenzhen and has increasingly become a part of the city and its residents.
Shenzhen has more than 6,000 design firms accounting for 100,000 employees, creating a yearly output of around 11 billion Yuan (US$1.54 billion). Designers in Shenzhen cover various design fields such as graphic design, industry design, interior and architectural design, fashion design, toy design, jewellery design, crafts design, etc. The city has become China’s largest production base for women’s clothing. More than 30,000 designers work for more than 800 Chinese fashion brands.
The capacity for innovation is strong in Shenzhen. Nowadays the city is recognized as one of the comprehensive Chinese bases for high-tech industries and an important center for the development of intellectual property rights. About 40,000 patents are granted to Shenzhen enterprises annually, half of which are concerned with innovative designs.
As a Creative City of Design, Shenzhen envisages
- organizing the Shenzhen Design Award for Young Talents (SZDAY), involving all members of the Network, targeting young designers under 35. The award focuses on the contributions of creativity to environmental sustainability, social and economic development and the quality of living in cities. Furthermore, the SZDAY aims to encourage exchange between young talents from different countries, inspire cooperation between creative cities and nurture the sharing of experiences and ideas for developing creative and cultural industries;
- hosting the annual Graphic Design Biennale Exhibition in China, one of the most influential graphic design events in China; and
- organizing international conferences on a regular basis such as the International Conference on Creative Design for Sustainable Development, held in Paris, involving other Creative Cities.