Luohu District was established in April 1979, one month after Shenzhen was promoted to city status. Futian, and another area called Fucheng (附城), became communes within the Luohu District.
Futian became part of the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone after it was designated in 1980. It then became a subdistrict under the district of Shangbu (上步).
Futian, along with Nanshan, was promoted to district status in October 1990. The Shangbu district, which had governed the Futian subdistrict the previous decade, became a part of the Futian district. The district government was established on Shennan Middle Road.
Rapid urbanization occurred in the late 20th century; the agricultural land which once made up a vast majority of Luohu had shrunk to an area of only 12.26 km2 (4.73 sq mi) by 2003.