A MODERN city with vitality, tolerance and a comparatively complete market economy system, Shenzhen leads the way in the design industry in China.
The earliest generation of Chinese designers were trained here. A magnet to arts graduates from universities all over the country, Shenzhen is still the first choice for young designers, making it a hub for Chinese design talent. Young or old, designers in this city are allowed full exposure to media and modern design concepts from the West.
Shenzhen has more than 6,000 design companies employing more than 60,000 designers. In 2005, the output value of the city's design industry reached US$1.9 billion, and that of the creative industry as whole accounted for 4 percent of the GDP. The number is expected to grow to 10 percent within five to 10 years.
Shenzhen's professional designers explore every front in the field: from graphic design to industrial design, fashion design, toy design, handicraft design, timepiece design, jewelry design, package design, architecture design, interior design, animation design, game design, communication design and software design.
They frequently participate in both national and international competitions and exhibitions, often winning prizes. To name a few, they've beent to the Chaumont Poster Festival, Helsinki International Poster Biennial, Mexico International Biennial of the Poster, Warsaw International Poster Biennale, International Biennale of Graphic Design Brno, Sofia International Triennial of the Stage Poster, Japan International Poster Triennial in Toyama, and New York TDC Competition. They've won the ICOGRADA Excellence Award, Moscow Golden Bee Award, and Hong Kong Designers Association Awards.
The logo for the bidding of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games was designed by a Shenzhen graphic designer.
There are many creative clusters in Shenzhen, housing a large number of professional designers and design firms. These creative parks include Tianmian Design City, OCT Loft, Luohu Creative Plaza, Nanshan Loft, Nanshan Digital Culture Industry Base, Shenzhen Creative Industry Park, Shenzhen Animation Town, Shenzhen-Hong Kong Animation & Game Fostering Base, Shenzhen Animation Street, Yijing Animation Park, Bao'an Arts Zone 22, and No. 8 Zhongkang Road. These are platforms of information, exhibition, education and communication.
Shenzhen has successfully held three China (Shenzhen) International Cultural Industry Fairs. So far, the fair has become a major platform for the exhibition and trade of products of the cultural industries in both Shenzhen and China.
Shenzhen's design education system is all-rounded and covers a wide range of subjects, with both institutions of higher learning and training agencies offering courses. The Art and Design School of Shenzhen Polytechnic offers such courses as fashion design, industrial design and environmental design.
Shenzhen University also has an art and design school, a communication school, an architecture and urban planning school and a software school.
In Shenzhen University Town, Qinghua University Shenzhen Graduate School has set up an art and design center to offer research courses for students seeking a master's or doctoral degree.
In 2006, the Central Academy of Fine Arts established a teaching base at Guan Shanyue Art Museum to offer master's degree courses in arts.
Shenzhen has established extensive contacts with foreign designers and design agencies over the past few decades. The annual Fiyta Cup Watch Design Competition has been held for four consecutive years, the judges of which were all world-renowned designers, including German master designer Luigi Colani, DaimlerChrysler's chief designer of Benz Motors Harald Leschke, and Swiss wristwatch designer Jorg Hysek.
The Shenzhen Graphic Design Association (SGDA) holds the Graphic Design in China competitions and exhibitions in Shenzhen every two years, inviting an international jury panel. The biennial of 2007 heralded a grand cultural event in the city, Creative December, which attracted designers from all over the world.
Now a large number of foreign designers have set up design workshops in Shenzhen and are cooperating fully with local designers. They have also widened their cultural and creative horizons by brainstorming with each other.