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The making of an innovative region from a centrally planned economy: institutional evolution in Zhongguancun Science Park in Beijing

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  • Yu Zhou

Abstract

Literature on innovation regions has focused mostly on case studies in mature capitalist economies in North America and Europe, generating little knowledge of how innovation may take place in alternative institutional settings or how institutional transformation occurs in regions other than advanced capitalist economies. This paper traces the institutional evolution of Zhongguancun (ZGC), China's most prominent science and technology park, in the northwestern part of Beijing, in its pursuit of becoming China's own 'Silicon Valley'. Created during the planned economy, ZGC has traveled a radically different trajectory compared with most high-tech regions in advanced countries. Since the mid-1980s, the area has been able to transform itself from a quiet Beijing suburb designated for scientific research and higher education into a bustling hub of global high-tech business. In this paper I examine the changing patterns of behavior and interaction among the Chinese state, Chinese technology firms, and multinational technology corporations during three different stages of ZGC's development, illustrating the possibility of alternative institutional arrangements and the intricacy of institutional transformation. The paper then compares the formal and informal institutional characteristics of ZGC with those of California's Silicon Valley, signifying its strengths and weaknesses for fostering an innovative environment.

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  • Yu Zhou, 2005. "The making of an innovative region from a centrally planned economy: institutional evolution in Zhongguancun Science Park in Beijing," Environment and Planning A, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 37(6), pages 1113-1134, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:pio:envira:v:37:y:2005:i:6:p:1113-1134
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Altenburg, Tilman & Schmitz, Hubert & Stamm, Andreas, 2008. "Breakthrough China's and India's Transition from Production to Innovation," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 36(2), pages 325-344, February.
    2. Kinnear, Susan & Ogden, Ian, 2014. "Planning the innovation agenda for sustainable development in resource regions: A central Queensland case study," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 42-53.
    3. Zhiyan, Zhao & Broström , Anders & Jianfeng, Cai, 2018. "Promoting Academic Engagement: University context and individual characteristics," Working Paper Series in Economics and Institutions of Innovation 466, Royal Institute of Technology, CESIS - Centre of Excellence for Science and Innovation Studies.
    4. Csomós, György & Tóth, Géza, 2016. "Exploring the position of cities in global corporate research and development: A bibliometric analysis by two different geographical approaches," Journal of Informetrics, Elsevier, vol. 10(2), pages 516-532.
    5. Yonghua Zou & Wanxia Zhao, 2014. "Anatomy of Tsinghua University Science Park in China: institutional evolution and assessment," The Journal of Technology Transfer, Springer, vol. 39(5), pages 663-674, October.
    6. Robert Huggins & Shougui Luo & Piers Thompson, 2014. "The competitiveness of China's Leading Regions: Benchmarking Their Knowledge-based Economies," Tijdschrift voor Economische en Sociale Geografie, Royal Dutch Geographical Society KNAG, vol. 105(3), pages 241-267, July.
    7. Zhou, Yu, 2008. "Synchronizing Export Orientation with Import Substitution: Creating Competitive Indigenous High-Tech Companies in China," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 36(11), pages 2353-2370, November.
    8. Jue Wang & Shaoming Cheng & Sukumar Ganapati, 2012. "Path dependence in regional ICT innovation: Differential evolution of Zhongguancun and Bangalore," Regional Science Policy & Practice, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 4(3), pages 231-245, August.
    9. Liu Zhi-gao & Dunford Michael, 2012. "Rejuvenating old industries in new contexts," Zeitschrift für Wirtschaftsgeographie, De Gruyter, vol. 56(1-2), pages 185-202, October.

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