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Temporary Knowledge Ecologies

Temporary Knowledge Ecologies

The Rise of Trade Fairs in the Asia-Pacific Region

Edited by Harald Bathelt and Gang Zeng

Temporary Knowledge Ecologies investigates and theorizes the nature, rise and evolution of trade fair knowledge ecologies in the Asia-Pacific region. It provides a comprehensive overview of trade fairs in this key world region applying a comparative perspective that involves highly diverse developed and developing countries. The book identifies (i) knowledge generation and transfer processes through trade fairs, (ii) interrelationships between industrial specialization and trade fair specialization, and (iii) linkages between economic development, industrial policy and trade fair development.

Chapter 5: Temporary clustering in developing economies: trade fairs in South and Southeast Asia

Peng-Fei Li

Subjects: economics and finance, international economics, geography, economic geography


In the past several years, a knowledge-based theory of temporary gatherings has fundamentally changed our understanding and interpretation of trade fairs (Maskell 2001; Bathelt et al. 2014). As events that can be traced back to traditional societies, trade fairs have long been regarded as market places where transactions are made (Allix 1922; Milgrom et al. 1990). They are viewed as configurations that solved the fundamental problem of creating market arrangements for the exchange of goods in early stages of capitalism before the modern trading system had existed (Epstein 1994). In geography, traditional trade fairs were explained as underdeveloped central places in areas where there was not sufficient demand to support the development of permanent commercial centers (Berry and Parr 1988). Although such market-based understandings of trade fairs still describe some important features of current events, the transformation of trade fairs in the knowledge economy brings about new dimensions of these events that go beyond traditional explanations.

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