Shenzhen now boosts an economy larger than Hong Kong's. Photo: Xinhua

China’s tech boomtown of Shenzhen has eased Hong Kong out of Asia’s top five cities as measured by annual economic output in 2018.

The bourgeoning southern metropolis booked a gross domestic product of 2.4 trillion yuan (US$352.6 billion) in 2018, representing a year-on-year surge of 7.5%.

Shenzhen’s mayor Chen Rugui noted in his annual work report delivered on January 18 that Shenzhen would be “among Asia’s top five cities with the largest annual GDP.”

Tokyo, Seoul, Shanghai and Beijing occupy the four spots ahead of Shenzhen.

Shenzhen, home to Tencent, DJI, Huawei, ZTE and Vanke as well as 14 million residents, has also consolidated its lead over Hong Kong, after surpassing the former British colony for the first time in 2017.

Hong Kong has been marred in tepid economic growth since its handover to China. Its GDP in 2017 stood at HK$2.66 trillion (US$341 billion), up 3.8%.

Chen also outlined Shenzhen’s aggressive plans to add some 1,000 kilometers of metro lines and another 1,000 km of high-speed rail lines within the next 20 years.

A view of Shenzhen. Photo: Twitter

Nine new metro lines with a total length of 130 km will be commissioned by 2020. The current Shenzhen metro system has 286 km of tracks in service.

The Shenzhen-based state-owned conglomerate China Resources has also unveiled a massive two-million-square-meter urban renewal plan in the city’s Luohu district to bulldoze tenement blocks to make room for a mega mall and a 140-story office tower, which will pierce the sky at 800 meters.

China Resources’ Hubei Tower project includes an 800-meter skyscraper. Photo: Handout

A 700-meter tower is also being built in Shenzhen’s Longgang district by Chinese realty developer Shimao.

The city’s current tallest skyscraper is the 118-story, 600-meter Ping An Finance Centre, which is now the world’s fourth tallest building.

The demand for new offices is driven by Shenzhen’s strategic and emerging industries – which includes such fields as information technology, biotechnology, new materials, finance and trade – which contributed 60% of the 2018 GDP figure.

Its foreign trade in 2018 grew to about 3 trillion yuan, while retail sales increased to 616.3 billion yuan.

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