SMEs in a Globalised World

SMEs in a Globalised World

Survival and Growth Strategies on Europe’s Geographical Periphery

Edited by Helena Lenihan, Bernadette Andreosso-O’Callaghan and Mark Hart

This insightful book shows how small and medium enterprises (SMEs) from some of the traditionally less dynamic peripheral economies of the ‘old’ EU – namely Ireland, Italy, Portugal and Spain – have responded to the twin challenges of globalisation and industrial restructuring. Through a series of unique case studies the contributing authors discuss how these economies, and in particular the SME sector, can be transformed.

Chapter 6: Forms of Industrial Development in Chinese Specialized Towns and Types of Challenges to European Manufacturing SMEs: An Italian Perspective

Marco Bellandi and Annalisa Caloffi

Subjects: business and management, entrepreneurship, economics and finance, industrial economics, regional economics, urban and regional studies, regional economics


Marco Bellandi and Annalisa Caloffi1 INTRODUCTION The rise of ‘made in China’ has been favoured by international traders and multinational firms around the world. It has also aroused the concern of many SME (small-to-medium sized enterprises) manufacturing clusters in developed countries, for example in Italian industrial districts and in less developed countries as well. The Chinese competitive challenge comes from a rich variety of factors. They include of course cheap labour and land; a large internal market; state and local policies opening to foreign direct investments (FDIs) by multinational firms with increasing capacities in the management of international production systems (Gereffi and Korzeniewicz, 1994; Arndt and Kierzkoswki, 2001). Also, recent investigations have pointed out the role of local reserves of entrepreneurship and competence, adequate regional policies supporting the development of industrial clusters and the constitution of a large educational infrastructure, research and communication, as well as the influence of networks of overseas Chinese entrepreneurs and Asian international value chains (Enright et al., 2005). A laboratory for understanding this variety is given by several cases of specialized towns which have been developing in the hotbeds of Chinese new industrialization, such as in the southern province of Guangdong. The second section opens up with a summary of previous work on this topic, and it relates this work to studies and models of local development built around the experience of Italian industrial districts (IDs).2 The issue of industrial development forms in Chinese specialized towns and the way this can be informed by...

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