Shenzhen, a trailblazing zone of China’s reform and opening-up in South China’s Guangdong Province, is expected to continue its transformation despite land shortages and housing price hikes, which continues to cause an exodus of labor-intensive manufacturers. Concerns about industrial hollowing out in Shenzhen prevail, especially when annual investment growth in manufacturing turned negative in the first half of both 2019 and 2020. Many manufacturers moved to neighboring cities including Dongguan and Huizhou, pinning their hopes on an industrial cluster centered on Shenzhen to secure sustainable development with unified public services and educational resources. On September 6, 2022, Shenzhen issued the country’s first legislation on access to and the ethics of smart technologies, as it plans to shift its focus from manufacturing to research and development of artificial intelligence. Analysts believe that institutional innovation rather than economic expansion will guarantee the city’s continued innovative vitality.