The future of Gwadar City is linked to China who play an obvious key role in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) agreement. With China committed to heavy investment in the area, Gwadar isn’t exactly dependent on the Chinese but the country is pivotal to its future.
That’s one reason why Gwadar is often compared to the Chinese city of Shenzhen but the two locations have much more in common than mere geography.
How important is Gwadar to CPEC?
CPEC oversees a number of projects in Pakistan but there’s no doubt that Gwadar is very much the jewel in this particular crown. The key to that theory lies in its specific location at the south western coastal tip of the country, looking out into the Arabian Sea. Gwadar is the biggest coastal port of its size situated within 600 kilometres of the Strait of Hormuz and that is very important as far as China are concerned. Some 35% of the world’s coastal bound petroleum resources flow through the Strait and that’s a significant number.
As a result, Gwadar has developed from a tiny sea port into one of the most promising cities in the world and a region that is primed for investment. There is some 10 million square feet of land given over to property while a new airport and a multi billion dollar Saudi Oil City are also set for construction in 2019.
However, that’s Gwadar’s story but what about Shenzhen?
The Economic Evolution of Shenzhen
China can claim many economic achievements over the last few decades but observers describe Shenzhen as its real success story. For much of its existence, the area has been something of a sleepy coastal town and known only as being the last stop on the local railway line. In fact, Shenzhen didn’t even become a city until 1979 but much has changed in the forty years since that point.
In the early 1980s, former Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping declared Shenzhen to be the first in a series of Special Economic zones designed to improve financial growth in the country as a whole. It had competitors but the newly-formed city grew at a much higher rate than its counterparts, growing at an average rate of 40% between 1981 and 1993.
That growth had to slow down but it has remained significant since the developments of the early 1980s. At the time of the 40% percentage increase, the average GDP in China grew by around 9.8%. Today, Shenzhen’s growth has settled down to around 8%.
In the present day, Shenzhen is home to its own stock exchange and it provides headquarters for many major international concerns including Huawei and Nepstar. It also ranks at number 12 on the list of the Global Financial Centres Index.
Now that we understand the histories of Gwadar and Shenzhen, we see two very similar locations. These are regions that grew from very little and while Shenzhen is now an economic superpower, Gwadar is primed to emulate its success.