But the distinction between the two Pearl River Delta ports showcases China’s challenge to replicate developed-world standard financial infrastructure, even as its economy keeps expanding in excess of 6 percent.
“It’s always going to be the financial hub and the gateway — you’re never going to get rid of it,” Stephen Innes, the Singapore-based head of trading for Asia Pacific with Oanda Corp., said of Hong Kong. “It’s like London going through Brexit: obviously it’s not going to be the same place anymore but it will still remain the financial center.”
Shenzhen has shined amid China’s efforts to move up the value chain and go beyond cheap manufactured goods like plastic toys and simple textiles like T-shirts. The city is now an information-technology hub, with sector giants including Tencent Holdings Ltd., ZTE Corp. and Huawei Technologies Co. all based there — a jump Hong Kong has struggled to make.