Shenzhen businesses have been ordered to try every possible means to achieve economic growth of 14 per cent this year.
Trade officials and business leaders were summoned to a meeting on Tuesday where party secretary Zhang Gaoli told them to give top priority to meeting the target.
Exports must expand by 10 per cent this year and government departments must spare no resources to help companies to reach these targets, Mr Zhang said.
Big and established enterprises in Shenzhen were expected to play a leading role in the latest drive, and exporters were encouraged to explore new overseas markets.
Mr Zhang admitted that the Asian financial crisis was hurting the Special Economic Zone's exports, and reminded managers not to overlook its impact on Shenzhen's economy.
Mr Zhang reiterated that the Government must create a 'relaxed' market environment for businesses and encourage entrepreneurs willing to try new fields.
The 14 per cent growth rate ordered by Mr Zhang was the highest set for 35 large and medium cities.
Premier Zhu Rongji set an eight per cent national average last March and Guangdong - one of China's growth engines - has hoped to reach 10 per cent this year.
The Premier has vowed to stick to an eight per cent target for this year while maintaining a stable currency.
Figures for 1996 showed Shenzhen's economy grew 16.4 per cent but its traditional economic growth engine, foreign trade, barely increased following several years of double-digit growth.