Summary of Why Shenzhen’s Cultural Value Lags Behind Beijing’s, Shanghai’s and Guangzhou’s

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Why Shenzhen’s Cultural Value Lags Behind Beijing’s, Shanghai’s and Guangzhou’s summary
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Compared with China’s other first-tier cities, Shenzhen is a black sheep: It’s on par in terms of economic prowess, but lacks cultural depth. Chen Shiyu, a writer for DT Caijing, a data research portal sponsored by China Business Network, pinpoints weaknesses and identifies specific areas for improvement.

About the Author

Chen Shiyu is a writer for DT Caijing. Sponsored by China Business Network, DT Caijing is a data research platform that interprets big data related to consumer society and business landscapes.



Shenzhen’s GDP surpassed that of Hong Kong for the first time in 2018 and is often listed among China’s first-tier cities alongside Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou. Just like any nouveau riche who suddenly finds him- or herself at the top of the pyramid among the elite, Shenzhen is wary of being labeled as the newcomer who is “all money and no substance.” If you search for wen hua sha mo – Chinese for “cultural desert” – on search engine Baidu, more than 30% of the search results include references to Shenzhen.

Shenzhen is desperate to change this perception. Capital, land and labor no longer drive an area’s economic growth. Countries or regions compete on their ability to attract and retain creative people. And, generally speaking, creative minds prefer to live...

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