Skyscrapers witness Shenzhen's fast development

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The rising skyline of Shenzhen testifies to the fundamental changes the city has witnessed over the past 40 years since the reform and opening-up policy was introduced. []

The rising skyline of Shenzhen testifies to the fundamental changes the city has witnessed over the past 40 years since the reform and opening-up policy was introduced.

The 160-meter-high International Trade Center Building, 384-meter-high Diwang Building, 442-meter-high Kingkey 100 Tower, and the 600-meter-high Ping An Finance Center have held the title of the highest building of the city upon completion in 1985, 1996, 2011 and 2017 respectively.

Lin Xiaojing, a local resident, recalled that when she looked out over the city from the top of the International Trade Center Building in the 1980s, she saw swathes of farmland dotted around the city. Now, when she looks out over the city from the top of Lianhua Hill, Shenzhen has assumed the look of a modern city.

Chen Jianxin, a constructor of the International Trade Center Building, who came to Shenzhen at the age of 18 in 1982, said: "Before arriving at the construction site of the skyscraper, the tallest building I'd seen was five stories high, and I was shocked by the scale of the project."

That it took only three days to build one story of the building created national record back then, and it was called the "Shenzhen speed", according to Zhu Rongyuan, an urban construction planner who came to Shenzhen in 1984.

Zhu said the construction sites of some high-rise buildings near the Shenzhen Railway Station in Luohu brought a Hong Kong-style aura of modernity to the city.

For a long time, the International Trade Center Building had been regarded as a landmark building of Shenzhen visited by many tourists to look out at the fast-growing city from its top.

In 1996, the Diwang Building was finished about one kilometer to the west, as a representative building of the city to greet the 21st Century. Back then, it was the highest building in Asia, and the fourth-highest in the world.

It took about two-and-a-half days to build one story, and the entire structure was finished within three years, breaking the record created by the constructors of the International Trade Center Building.

Chen, who also participated in the construction of the Kingkey 100 Tower and the Ping An Finance Center, said these skyscrapers had become a witness to Shenzhen's development achievements and tribute to the "Shenzhen speed".

With the rising of Shenzhen's skyline, its urban areas have gradually expanded from Luohu to Futian.

Chen Yixin, who took part in the planning and building of Shenzhen's central business district, said Luohu had been built into an urban commercial center, with dozens of high-rise buildings gradually covering an area of about 20 square kilometers, in the 1980s and early 1990s. The development of Luohu has further consolidated the confidence of the outside world in Shenzhen as part of the front line of reform and opening-up, and also prompted the city to build a new urban center in neighboring Futian district.

Guo Wanda, deputy director of Shenzhen Comprehensive Development Institute, said Shenzhen's limited land area and resources, compared with Guangzhou, Shanghai and Beijing, had forced it to pursue high output per unit of land, and explore new development space in the sky.

This principle will continue to be ingrained in the city's genes in its urban development.

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