Shenzhen is home to one, of two, stock exchanges found on the Chinese Mainland.
Shenzhen is one of the two main financial centres of China. The other is Shanghai. China’s largest financial institution Ping An has its headquarters in Shenzhen as do two of China’s six listed banks. Forty per cent of mutual funds, an ever-growing sector, are managed from offices in Shenzhen.
This is not surprising because Shenzhen was one of the centres from which the great economic and financial reforms of the 1980s and 1990s spread. In the early 1980s there was a movement in Chinese politics to spread the advantages of share ownership to the whole of the economy. This was a very radical idea against the background of 30 years of Stalinism and proponents of the system within the government took pains to stress its experimental nature. This was partly achieved by confining the first experiments to the Special Economic Zones. In Shenzhen a “Leading Committee on the Shareholding
Experiment” was established in the early 1980s to oversee the establishment of companies.
In November 1982, Shenzhen established three companies with liability limited by shares.
In November 1986, Shenzhen City Government published Regulations Governing Experimental Corporatisation of State Owned Enterprises, thus marking the real beginning of the shareholding system in the city.
The first company to have its shares traded publicly in Shenzhen was Shenzhen Development Bank. Shenzhen Development Bank, originally known as the Shenzhen Trust Bank, began its share placement in March 1987. It was constituted from twenty-one independent trust banks. Each of the component trust banks continued its independent operations with responsibility for its own profits and losses.
There have been many booms and busts in the Shenzhen market. Some of them occurred even before the market officially opened. The first was in 1988 when Shenzhen Development Bank announced profits that were three times those reported the previous year. The subsequent dividends and bonus share issues convinced shareholders that they were onto a goldmine and formerly furtive trading erupted into riots on the streets.
Shenzhen wasn’t the first exchange to open officially. That honour belonged to Shanghai, which officially opened on 16 November 1990. This wasn’t because Shenzhen wasn’t ready. The City Government had approved the establishment of the exchange as early as November 1989, but the central government was in the hands of Shanghainese who were determined to grant primacy to their city. There were many rumours current in the city of impossible demands and interference from the old “left”. Some even spoke of a rumour of a deathbed deal between two leading politicians in which the national vice-presidency, the leading role in a financial institution and the opening of the Shenzhen Exchange were in play. Whatever the truth of these stories, it is certain that President Jiang Zemin himself made the 30 November 1990 phone call which resulted in a sudden soft opening of the Shanghai exchange on the next day.
A big new home for the Shenzhen Stock Exchange was completed in October, 2013 in the Futian CBD in pride of place right on Shennan Ave. The forty-six storey 264 metre tall building is by the Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas. It’s bold its three-storey podium is cantilevered out over a surrounding plaza where it either floats or sits uncomfortably depending on your point of view.
Old Building Address: Shenzhen Stock Exchange Building, 5045 Shennan Rd Central 5045
Metro Da Ju Yuan line 1
New Building Shennan Rd Central, Futian
0755 8208 3333