The Shenzhen city party committee and people’s government recently announced their decision to establish two new functional zones in Baoan and Longgang districts. The two new functional zones are temporarily named “Longhua New Area” and “Dapeng New Area”.
Two new zones in Baoan and Longgang
According to the publicity department of the Shenzhen city party committee, the Longhua New Area which includes the four subdistricts of Longhua, Dalang, Minzhi and Guanlan in Baoan District will have a total area of 181 sq km and a total population of about 157,000 people, including 72,500 with household registration. The Dapeng New Area which includes the three subdistricts of Dapeng, Kuichong and Nan’ao in Longgang District will have a total area of 290 sq km and a total population of 111,200 people.
“The establishment of the new areas will further promote administrative reform in Shenzhen,” said an official concerned at the publicity department’s briefing. It is understood that preparatory work is actively underway but the date of the official establishment of the two areas has yet to be finalised.
Some departments appointed too many deputy directors and deputy division heads after the launch of the “super-ministries” reform in Shenzhen in 2009. The city commission office for public sector reform proposed that the excessive number of leading posts be reduced by reassigning some of the redundant personnel to help make preparation for the Shenzhen Universiade and to the newly-established functional areas and encouraging some cadres to take early retirement. At the end of April 2011, Shenzhen further extended this administrative reform from city-level to district-level government offices. The establishment of the Longhua and Dapeng new areas should help consolidate the achievements of the reform and re-deploy redundant staff members.
Ideas for further establishment of functional areas
This move implies that the new round of administrative zoning adjustment finally commenced with the establishment of functional areas. As an important component of the reform of the administrative system, Shenzhen officially began its reform of the administrative zoning and management system with the establishment of "new functional areas" in 2007. On the basis of the previous system of government at the two levels of city and district and management at the four levels of city, district, subdistrict and residential district, efforts will be made to explore a system of administration with government at one level, that is, the functional area office, and management at three levels.
Shenzhen established the Guangming New Area and Pingshan New Area in 2007 and 2009 respectively. The State Council approved the Overall Plan for Comprehensive Reform in Shenzhen in May 2009 and the plan to expand the scope of the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone to the entire city in 2010. Certain unreasonable aspects of Shenzhen’s existing administrative zoning become increasingly manifest with the acceleration of the integration process.
The size of Baoan and Longgang is nearly 10 times that of other districts. Each of Shenzhen’s subdistricts has a population of 150,000 people on average, but in Baoan and Longgang, there are over 200,000 people in each subdistrict, and eight with a population of over 300,000. With workload far exceeding the scope of subdistricts, there is serious discrepancy between workload and resources.
Based on the experience of the Guangming and Pingshan new areas in reform and development, Shenzhen hopes to accelerate the development of the regional economy, further bring into play Shenzhen's leading edge as an experimental area for comprehensive reform, advance the integration of the special economic zone with high standards, and promote a new round of great development for the special economic zone through the establishment of the Longhua New Area and Dapeng New Area. This will facilitate the further expansion of the scope for urban development, the creation of new economic growth poles of a high standard, the acceleration of the pace of building modern and advanced international cities, the further optimisation and adjustment of the overall layout of urban development, the realisation of more refined and balanced public services, and the elevation of the level of urban development.
Shenzhen functional areas
Although the Guangming and Pingshan new areas exercise the duties of district-level governments and function as the representative offices of the Shenzhen city government, their administrative structure is obviously different from that of other administrative areas. For example, they do not have people's congresses, people's political consultative conferences, procuratorates or courts, and their GDP is computed to their original districts. Functional areas are equivalent to an administrative bureau of the city government but do not constitute an administrative level.
The new areas have the characteristics of administrative areas and functional areas. On the one hand, the functions of the new areas in “attracting investment and planning industrial layout” are the characteristics of functional areas. On the other hand, their functions in “managing administrative and social affairs” are characteristics of administrative areas.
Shenzhen circumvented the institutional constraint that requires the approval of the central government to establish administrative areas and broke administrative zoning restrictions in its establishment of new functional areas. It also tried to explore a model of management with one level of government and three levels of management by streamlining administration and improving efficiency.