The fortunes of this public university founded in 1983 have echoed those of its host city, a symbol of the economic transformation of China initiated by former Chinese politician Deng Xiaoping, who hailed the rapidity of change after the creation of its Special Economic Zone in 1980 as "Shenzhen speed".
Shenzhen University describes itself as "The Special Economic Zone University, the Window University, the Experimental University" and declares an aim to "cultivate students’ innovative and entrepreneurial spirit to lead the progress of society".
It is located on two campuses, with a combined area of 2.72km², the Houhai precinct close to the coast and the newer, more urban Xii campus. From here it offers a full range of undergraduate and postgraduate courses via 27 schools, including one specialising in golf management. The strong business and technological emphasis is leavened by its status as a "National Experimental Zone for Creativity and Character Education", promoting the arts.
Significant investment has created an infrastructure including seven key science and engineering labs, and its research science output was rated 67th among Chinese institutions in the 2018 Nature Index.
International students were first admitted in 1989 and make up around five per cent of the total enrolment in the region of 35,000. The university has more than 200 international partnerships and runs a business school in partnership with Audencia Business School, Spain.
An estimated 85 per cent of graduates stay in Shenzhen, a city of around 12 million which borders Hong Kong, a relationship recognised by the creation, in July 2018, of the Greater Bay Area International Institute for Innovation in partnership with Hong Kong Polytechnic University.