Table of Contents

Branding Chinese Mega-Cities

Branding Chinese Mega-Cities

Policies, Practices and Positioning

Edited by Per Olof Berg and Emma Björner

This interdisciplinary book details the economic, cultural and social background of the development of Chinese mega-cities, as well as presenting the mechanisms of governance and urban growth strategies. Therein, the main discussion centres on the contemporary practice of city branding and development in China in relation to the rest of the world. This includes the way stakeholders and actors are engaged in city branding; the ‘societal forces’ that impact the city branding process; the way cities compete internationally; and how mega-cities build brands to strategically position themselves globally.

Chapter 9: Branding city destinations: experiences of two metropolises in China: Hangzhou and Xi'an

Mimi Li, Bihu Wu and Bailu Li

Subjects: business and management, marketing, urban and regional studies, cities


The importance of place branding has been defined by many as a way to distinguish one place from another, to convey a positive and motivating message, and to add value to the place (Aaker, 1996; Murphy, 1990). Despite the growing popularity of place branding in academia and among practitioners, the literature has seen a recognisable gap regarding the application of the term place and its associated vocabulary on different geographical dimensions: location, country, nation, city, and region (Hanna and Rowley, 2008). City branding is an emerging agent for urban socioeconomic development. City brands are not only vehicles to broadcast urban identity but also instruments to increase a city's competitive capacity (Seisdedos and Vaggione, 2005). Today, a significant number of cities are involved in processes to create a new brand or regenerate their existing one. For example, in Europe the average per capita city marketing budget allocated for city branding was EUR 400,000, ranging from EUR 152,000 to EUR 10 million per year. European cities are witnessing a growing number of city branding projects, as well as a shift in the way in which city branding is carried out. Branding has become the main task of visiting delegations from tourist bureaus and tourism agencies in Europe (Seisdedos, 2006). The popularity of city branding has led to the emergence of academic research in this field in the past 30 years. A review of city branding (by Lucarelli and Berg, 2011) identified 217 articles published between 1988 and 2009.

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