xi's moments

China's youngest metropolis sees rising skyline

China Daily | Updated: 2018-10-11 09:14

Ping An Finance Center is seen in Shenzhen, South China's Guangdong province, Oct 26, 2017. [Photo/VCG]

SHENZHEN - Birthday wishes and marriage proposals are often displayed on the huge outdoor electronic billboard of KingKey Financial Center, Shenzhen's second-highest skyscraper.

The landmark building, completed in 2011 with a height of 441.8 meters, offers a spectacular view of the sprawling metropolis.

Today, Shenzhen's skyline is dotted with over 100 skyscrapers more than 200 meters high, 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. The other two are Tokyo and Hong Kong.

In less than four decades, Shenzhen has been 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, a retired employee of a State-owned construction company in his 70s 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 began to hatch the idea of building China's tallest skyscraper. That same year, construction of the 160-meter-high 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" has become one of the well-known outcomes of China's reform and opening-up.

Over the past few decades, each new tower has redefined the city's rapidly evolving skyline, which serves as a timeline of the city'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 KingKey Financial Center was finished and in 2015, the Pingan International Finance Center, with a height of nearly 600 meters, dominated the city's skyline.

"Compared with other first-tier 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 market economy testing ground, Shenzhen has become a technology center and financial hub in recent years. With its favorable business environment, nearly 300 Fortune 500 companies have set up their China bases in Shenzhen.

"There will be more landmark skyscrapers in Shenzhen and the idea of a 'rising skyline for growth' will continue to be highlighted in the city's future economic development," Guo said. "Skyscrapers have become an inevitable part of Shenzhen."


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