A gigantic billboard of Deng Xiaoping was unveiled in Shenzhen yesterday to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the late paramount leader's birth. The billboard, next to the Shenzhen Theatre on Honglin Road, has been a city icon since the first was erected in 1992, but the latest version - at 300 square metres - is by far the largest. Authorities also built a 13,500-square-metre plaza in front of the billboard as part of preparations for the anniversary on Sunday. Many Shenzhen people consider Deng the city's founding father and protector. 'We are all his children,' said Zhao Qin , a secondary school teacher. 'If there was no Deng Xiaoping, there would be no Shenzhen. And China might not have opened up to the world.' Shenzhen was designated one of five special economic zones in 1980 when Deng decided to introduce economic reforms. He also backed Shenzhen when the city's reform policies were attacked by party conservatives - most famously during his southern tour in early 1992, when he said China would not reverse its open-door policy. The Deng billboard has undergone three makeovers since it was first erected, though his famous slogan - 'The reform policy will not be changed for 100 years' - stayed the same. For the latest version, Shenzhen officials used technology that enabled the colour to 'keep its vividness for years'. The new billboard depicts Deng watching over the booming city.