"What made the Chinese SEZs successful was their more decentralised, bottom-up nature, according to Lotta Moberg, a macroeconomic analyst at William Blair and author of The Political Economy of Special Economic Zones: Concentrating Economic Development. “What you had in China were business interests and others who wanted to do business between China and Hong Kong,” she told me in an interview. “They managed to lobby the right people who would reach the upper echelons of the government to grant these kinds of concessions.”Shenzhen’s reforms were not driven by the central state, instead, it was a product of local interests and local lobbying. “The institutional foundations of the Chinese examples created different dynamics from what is likely to occur in Neom, which is largely directed by the government,” said Moberg. Shenzhen was a response to demand, whereas Neom is an attempt to solve the ruling family’s political problems."