The Shenzhen Model, 20 years after Deng Xiaoping’s 1992 Southern Tour

Reading a Shenzhen newspaper requires a sense of the absurd, a sense of the city’s history, and awareness of what’s up in Beijing. The front page of today’s Jing Bao (晶报2012年2月24日), for example, proclaims, “If the Special Zone doesn’t reform, it will soon disappear (特区不改革很快就消失).” The next headline is “In 2025, Shenzhen’s GDP will be the 11th largest in the world (2025年深圳GDP全球第11名)”, asserting that “The Shenzhen Model has Great Significance for the Country (深圳模式对中国意义重大).”

Inquiring minds want to know, well, which is it? Is Shenzhen not reforming fast enough to avoid extinction or is the Shenzhen Model stable enough to become the  world’s 11th largest urban economy over the next 13 years? Continue reading