Policies, Practices and Positioning
Edited by Per Olof Berg and Emma Björner
Chapter 14: Innovation branding for FDI promotion: building the distinctive brand
In the framework of globalization in which territorial competition and competitiveness, i.e., the regional capacity to compete, have become a mantra of development policies (Bristow, 2011), place branding is part of a 'purposive territorial competition' according to which governments play a 'collective role in securing the conditions to promote competitive success for firms and individuals' (Gordon, 2011, p. 33). The global spread of place branding has occurred along with a serious lack of distinctiveness, and doubts arise about the capacity of clone brands to enhance place competitiveness. This chapter discusses the efforts to boost distinctive brands and branding in the field of foreign direct investment (FDI) promotion and focuses on the 'innovation brand', which aims to build the reputation of the place as international innovation hotspot (Pasquinelli and Teräs, 2011, 2012). The Chinese context provides an opportunity to discuss branding for FDI promotion and the role of distinctiveness in a geographical setting where competition for FDIs is rapidly increasing. Being one of the top investment destinations (UNCTAD, 2012), China is currently experiencing significant changes in FDI inflows (EIU, 2012); investments are rapidly growing in service sectors as a consequence of increasing personal disposable income, and rapid urbanization which is widening the domestic market and the demand for scientific and technological services (World Bank, 2012). The geography of FDI inflows into China is expanding from the coast into the interior provinces.
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