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Specialized markets and Chinese industrial clusters: The experience of Zhejiang Province


  • Bellandi, Marco
  • Lombardi, Silvia


Local specialized markets and industrial clusters have been a driving force in China's transition from a rural to a market economy, as they have constituted a means for small local producers to access markets since the reform and the launching of the “open door” policies. In this article the industrial development of local industrial clusters endowed with specialized markets is outlined on the basis of fieldwork case studies in Zhejiang Province. In this area of China, tight linkages between the development of industrial clusters and specialized markets are based on social and economic foundations that have propelled the growth of market relations since the late 1970s. Together with local traditions and skills in both handcraft production and commerce, specialized markets accompanied the take-off of industrial clusters following the so-called “Zhejiang model” of development. The role of specialized markets is still crucial nowadays as a powerful channel for the distribution of consumer goods as well as a means of coordination of fragmented productions in China and abroad.

Suggested Citation

  • Bellandi, Marco & Lombardi, Silvia, 2012. "Specialized markets and Chinese industrial clusters: The experience of Zhejiang Province," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 23(3), pages 626-638.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:chieco:v:23:y:2012:i:3:p:626-638
    DOI: 10.1016/j.chieco.2012.03.001

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Fleisher, Belton & Hu, Dinghuan & McGuire, William & Zhang, Xiaobo, 2010. "The evolution of an industrial cluster in China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 456-469, September.
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    7. Ding, Ke, 2006. "Distribution System of China's Industrial Clusters: Case Study of Yiwu China Commodity City," IDE Discussion Papers 75, Institute of Developing Economies, Japan External Trade Organization(JETRO).
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    Cited by:

    1. Zheng, Liang & Zhao, Zhong, 2017. "What drives spatial clusters of entrepreneurship in China? Evidence from economic census data," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 46(C), pages 229-248.
    2. Huasheng Zhu & Xue Huang & Qingcan He & Jie Li & Lingzhi Ren, 2016. "Sustaining Competitiveness: Moving Towards Upstream Manufacturing in Specialized-Market-Based Clusters in the Chinese Toy Industry," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 8(2), pages 1-19, February.
    3. repec:gam:jsusta:v:8:y:2016:i:2:p:176:d:64020 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Ke Ding & Toshitaka Gokan & Xiwei Zhu, 2017. "Small business and the self-organization of a marketplace," The Annals of Regional Science, Springer;Western Regional Science Association, vol. 58(1), pages 1-19, January.

    More about this item


    Specialized markets; Zhejiang model; Industry and market; Local development; China's transition;

    JEL classification:

    • L26 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Entrepreneurship
    • P25 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Systems and Transition Economies - - - Urban, Rural, and Regional Economics
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development


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