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Beyond new regionalism, beyond global production networks: remaking the Sunan model, China


  • Y H Dennis Wei


I attempt to advance the research on globalization and regional development in China through a study of Kunshan City. I investigate the restructuring process, the structure of foreign direct investment, and the nature of global – local networks to understand trajectories and models of regional development in the context of globalization. I highlight the interactions of the Chinese state, transnational corporations (TNCs), and regional assets in shaping the trajectories of regional development. I argue that Kunshan’s pathway to globalizing regional development is state centered and heavily dependent on global forces, which has made Kunshan a TNC satellite district and a dual city segmented between TNCs and domestic firms. I also argue that TNCs’ local embeddedness has to be positioned in their global and external networks and that the assessment of regional development has to be conditioned upon a region’s specific context. The findings suggest that neither new regionalism nor global production network perspectives can fully explain regional development in China with huge domestic markets and large regional disparities. I promote an alternative, middle-ground perspective to regional development to better integrate global forces, state institutions, and local contexts. Such a third approach to regional development has the potential to localize TNCs and to develop indigenous capacities.

Suggested Citation

  • Y H Dennis Wei, 2010. "Beyond new regionalism, beyond global production networks: remaking the Sunan model, China," Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 28(1), pages 72-96, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:pio:envirc:v:28:y:2010:i:1:p:72-96

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    1. repec:gam:jsusta:v:8:y:2016:i:5:p:480:d:70100 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. repec:gam:jsusta:v:9:y:2017:i:7:p:1179-:d:103732 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. 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.
    4. Yingru Li & Huixuan Li & Zhongwei Liu & Changhong Miao, 2016. "Spatial Assessment of Cancer Incidences and the Risks of Industrial Wastewater Emission in China," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 8(5), pages 1-19, May.
    5. repec:bla:tvecsg:v:108:y:2017:i:5:p:571-591 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Henry Wai-chung Yeung, 2015. "Regional development in the global economy: A dynamic perspective of strategic coupling in global production networks," Regional Science Policy & Practice, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 7(1), pages 1-23, March.

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