The appointment of Guangdong party vice-secretary Liu Yupu - a protege of President Hu Jintao - as Shenzhen's party boss yesterday ended seven years of domination in the mainland's most advanced special economic zone by allies of former president Jiang Zemin.
Huang Liman and Li Hongzhong , Mr Liu's two predecessors, were long-time Jiang allies.
Analysts said Mr Liu, a 58-year-old Shandong native, had kept a low profile since being 'parachuted' into Guangdong from Shaanxi in 2000, but his age meant he would not have much time to realise large projects for the city.
The maximum age for officials at Mr Liu's level is 60, which means he is likely to be a transitional figure.
Some of Mr Liu's predecessors such as Mr Li, now acting Hubei governor, and Tianjin party chief Zhang Gaoli took on the job when they were at least seven years younger.
Analysts said Mr Liu would have two options in the next two years: retirement or promotion to another position before turning 60.
Ms Huang became chairwoman of the Guangdong People's Congress in January 2005, a month shy of her 60th birthday.
Rumours had been circulating for more than two years that Guangdong publicity head Lin Xiong would become Shenzhen party chief. Mr Lin was Premier Wen Jiabao's secretary when Mr Wen was director of the Communist Party's General Office in 1990.
Mr Lin was appointed to his present position in 2005, but a source said Mr Wen was too distracted by the Pingan insurance issue to clear the way for Mr Lin.
Under mainland financial regulations, insurance companies are not allowed to operate banking services. But the State Council allowed Shenzhen-based Pingan Insurance Company to provide banking services in the city.
There has been speculation that Mr Wen's attention has been consumed by the issue because a relative was involved.
Some analysts have suggested that Shenzhen's future lies in a merger with Hong Kong.
Both cities have shown a strong desire to collaborate.