Welcome to the Houston-Shenzhen Sister City Association!
The purpose of our organization is to promote business, cultural understanding, and friendship between two of the world’s most dynamic cities, Houston, Texas, and Shenzhen, China. As members of Sister Cities International, an organization established more than 60 years ago by President Dwight D. Eisenhower, we believe that face-to-face meetings and personal relationships are vital to fostering peace and prosperity between our people.
Most large cities across the world have sister cities. Houston, in fact, has some 18 sister cities, and they include such far away destinations as Baku, Azerbaijan, Nice, France, and Perth, Australia. One of Houston’s longest relationships is with Shenzhen, a city, like Houston, that has enjoyed long periods of economic good times.
Shenzhen was once just a cluster of poor villages surrounded by rice paddies on the Pearl River next door to Hong Kong. In 1979, then Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping designated it as the country’s first special economic zone. He wanted to give to give full-throttled free enterprise a try. The experiment exceeded all expectations, and Shenzhen has probably grown faster than any city in history. Today, it is an industrial megacity with dazzling architecture and a population now three times greater than Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio combined. It’s also China’s Silicon Valley and its factories churn out every technology component imaginable.
In 1986, a Houston-Shenzhen Sister Cities program took shape and trade, cultural, educational, and medical exchanges became a regular feature of the two cities. At present, the Houston-Shenzhen Sister City Association operates out of the Mayoral offices of both cities. In Houston, the organization is lead by elected president Jim Olive, an international known corporate and environmental photographer.