Authorities in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen have recognised 40 people for their contribution to the transformation of the once sleepy fishing village into a thriving technology hub over the last four decades. The recipients come from a range of sectors in the city, from manufacturing, telecommunications, medical care, equipment and nuclear power to fashion and art. They also include people who pioneered implementation of the reform and opening-up policy. A notable absence from the list is Ren Zhengfei , founder and CEO of Huawei Technologies, a global 5G leader at the centre of the US-China tech war. His name was also left off the list of 100 “reform pioneers” released by the central government in 2018 to mark the country’s 40th anniversary of reforms. But Ren was among those recognised a decade ago when Shenzhen marked the 30th anniversary of the reform drive in the city. Another person left off this week’s list but named in 2010 is Wang Shi, founder of Shenzhen-based property developer China Vanke. Shenzhen Special Economic Zone: 40th anniversary Other recipients this time include Huo Dawei, a senior research adviser to Huawei; Tencent chairman Pony Ma Huateng; Ping An Insurance (Group) of China chairman Ma Mingzhe; Ma Weihua, former head of China Merchants Bank; and BYD chairman Wang Chuanfu. Yuan Geng, a founder of the Shekou Industrial Zone who died four years ago, was also singled out for his contribution. The Hong Kong recipients were Hopewell chairman Gordon Wu Ying-sheung; Xu Yangsheng, president of the Chinese University of Hong Kong’s Shenzhen branch; SF Express chairman Wang Wei; and Li Zexiang, professor of engineering at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and head of drone maker DJI. Respiratory specialist Zhong Nanshan was on the 2018 list but also missed out this time. However, Zhong received the country’s top honour, the Medal of the Republic, in September for helping combat the coronavirus pandemic. China unveils plan to turn Shenzhen into ‘core engine’ of reform Ren and Zhong sat next to each other at a ceremony on Wednesday to mark the 40th anniversary of Shenzhen Special Economic Zone where Chinese President Xi Jinping delivered a major address outlining the future challenges and missions for the city. In his address to the ceremony, Xi said that one of Shenzhen’s responsibilities was to become an important engine for the Greater Bay Area, the city cluster plan to turn Hong Kong, Macau and Guangdong into a technology and finance powerhouse by 2035. Chen Zhilie, founder of technology firm Yanxiang, also addressed the gathering, saying Shenzhen’s open and flexible market environment had helped hi-tech private enterprises. Chen said his company was “aiming to become the world’s number one in industrial computers”.