Shenzen Economic Performance, City Brand Strength and Reputation

Shenzhen is a bustling metropolis in southern China, often referred to as China’s Silicon Valley. The city’s competitive culture has attracted a large population of young and talented workers and is home to numerous small manufacturers and software companies. Many of these have grown into large technology corporations, such as Huawei and Tencent. Strategically located by the Port of Shenzhen, one of the world’s largest and fastest-growing container ports, the city plays a crucial role in global trade and logistics.

With Shenzen growing at such a rapid pace, how does the city perform in terms of economic performance, city brand strength, and reputation according to leading rankings and indices?

Let’s explore:

  • Shenzen’s competitiveness and economic performance
  • Shenzen’s brand strength and global attractiveness
  • Livability: Shenzen’s appeal for digital nomads and locals

Shenzen’s Competitiveness and Financial Performance

Which aspects of Shenzen’s urban living make it an attractive place to live and work?

Shenzhen’s urban landscape boasts remarkable competitiveness and financial prowess. In the Global Financial Centres Index 35, Shenzhen is ranked an impressive 11th. Although it only advanced by one position, the one point difference in ratings between Shenzhen and its counterparts such as Seoul (10th) and Washington DC (12th) underscores its growing significance on the global financial stage.

Furthermore, the GFCI 35 notes that Shenzhen ranks among the top 15 most competitive centres in areas of Infrastructure and Financial Sector Development, in addition to Industry Sectors such Finance (3rd), Insurance (4th), and Investment Management (5th). In FinTech, it is ranked 4th.

In the 2thinknow’s Innovation Cities Index 2022-2023 Shenzhen saw a significant decline of 48 places and is ranked 74th, between Riverside (73rd) and Abu Dhabi (75th). This drop highlights the need for Shenzhen to enhance its technological innovation and financial dynamism to regain its competitive edge.

Shenzen’s Brand Strength and Global Attractiveness

Which subfactors hurt and help the brand of Shenzen?

Shenzhen maintains a respectable rank of 73rd in Kearney’s 2023 Global Cities Report, between Kuala Lumpur (72nd) and Jakarta (74th), however, the report’s Global Cities Outlook Ranking shows that there is room for improvement as the city falls 31 positions to 46th.

Brand Finance’s City Index 2023 positions Shenzhen globally 73rd between Johannesburg (72nd) and Chongqing (74th). Within China, Shenzhen  is the top city brand, owing to its large population of young and skilled workers and its status as a prime location for innovative start-ups. The city is a highly attractive destination for employment and business opportunities.


Which aspects of Shenzen’s urban living make it an attractive place to live and work?

The Mercer Quality of Living City Ranking ranks Shenzhen 139th, between Ankara (138th) and Kuwait City (141st), while the Mercer Cost of Living Ranking places the city 20th, between Tokyo (19th) and Boston (21st). Despite its lower ranking in the Mercer Quality of Living City Ranking, Shenzhen boasts a relatively affordable cost of living compared to other global cities, offering a vibrant and dynamic environment for residents and professionals alike.

The Arcadis Sustainability City Index 2022 ranks Shenzhen 67th, between Shanghai (66th) and Rome (68th). Shenzhen has a balanced pillar rankings as follows: Planet 61st, People 59th, Profit 58th.

In 2024, the Times Higher Education ranking placed Shenzhen University in the 351-400th bracket and 88th in the Asia University Ranking. The QS World University ranking positions Shenzhen University 595th and 81st among other Asian universities.

Last updated in June 2024. More city profiles here

Enjoyed our summary of global rankings and indices on Shenzen’s economic performance, its city brand strength, and reputation? Thanks for sharing!


Join us at the intersection of research and practice in place branding. TPBO spotlights impactful place brand stories, from showcases to our flagship yearbook. Learn from leaders in our Who is Who World Map. Connect with us on LinkedIn for insights and join our mailing list for the latest place brand impact stories and strategies.

- Introducing: World's Best in Place Branding -spot_img

FREE Download

Place Brand Leaders Yearbook 2024

Latest articles