The Shenzhen government has awarded tech giant Tencent an 809,124 square metre (8.7 million square foot) plot of reclaimed land to develop a “future city” focused on technology and innovation, according to an announcement by the city’s Land and Real Estate Exchange Centre.
The creator of social networking app WeChat has agreed to pay the city a total of RMB 8.52 billion ($1.21 billion) for the right to develop facilities dedicated to cloud technology, medical technology, education technology, and sports technology – as well as hotels, schools and apartments on the site 14 kilometres south of Shenzhen Bao’an International Airport.
Tencent, which already employes 38,000 people in Shenzhen, expects to build a commercial hub providing workspace for 75,000 Tencent employees in the Bao’an district location.
Developing a Tencent City in 7 Years
Yielding a total gross floor area of two million square metres, the site will house six research facilities for new technologies – including cloud technology, medical technology, education technology, and sports technology – as well as hotels, schools and apartments.
Given the land premium committed, Tencent is paying RMB 4,260 per square metre of built area, for the 30-year usage rights to the site.
The first phase of the development is also planned to include a convention centre, a data centre, a sports facility and a clinic.
The city is extending its metro lines 9 and 15 onto the reclaimed rectangle in Qianhai bay which hosts the new development, which will also have access to the 107 China National Highway linking Beijing to Hong Kong as well as the future Shenzhen-Zhongshan Bridge, according to a local press account.
As part of the tender conditions, Tencent is required to complete the project in seven years following granting of the land use rights.
Housing a Growing Employee Base
According to publicly available information, Tencent employs 38,000 people in Shenzhen and occupies a combined office space of around 700,000 square metres.
Tencent currently accommodates its Shenzhen-based staff in a combined office footprint of around 700,000 square metres, including a 270,000 square metre headquarters complex in Nanshan district’s Houhai area that the tech giant began moving just over one year ago.
With the company now planning to grow its employee base by 13 percent each year, it foresees a team size of 89,000 by 2027, which will require the firm to find another 1.3 million square metres of office space.
The Shenzhen government, which has helped promote Shenzhen as a mecca for tech firms, revealed three years ago that it wanted Tencent to build a “technology cluster of the future” in the city, while the Shenzhen Municipal Planning and Land Resources Bureau officially approved the project in April 2017.
In addition to its new plot near the Bao’an airport, in May 2015, Tencent won a 25,000 square metre commercial site in Shenzhen’s Qianhai district, across the border from Hong Kong, for RMB1.55 billion, which is reportedly being developed as the headquarters of the company’s WeBank, an initiative which the tech firm promotes as China’s first digital bank.