Asia’s International Trading and Finance Centres
Edited by François Gipouloux
Chapter 9: The Factors of Competitiveness of Greater Chinese Cities: The Case of the Localization of Foreign Research and Development in Beijing and Shanghai
Du Debin and Pierre Miège
Du Debin and Pierre Miège INTRODUCTION Within Greater China, major cities are competing for the title of the leading metropolis of the region. In a globalizing economy, multinational companies and organizations create worldwide networks as well as complex supply chains, and choose major cities as hubs for their global activities. Until recently, the concept of ‘competitiveness’ was attached only either to individual firms (Krugman, 1994) or to nation-states. However, the new economic context of globalization, sub-national local governments and, most notably, major cities (Ash and Thrift, 2007), appear to play a crucial role in attracting capital, enterprises and skilled labour (Gordon, 2003). In China, as in the rest of the world, cities have to rethink their positioning in a ‘web of flows’ (Burger et al., 2008), at the regional, national and global level. Innovation represents a crucial factor in the economic development and competitiveness of a city or a region, and contributes to the construction of the images of the modern, high-tech and ‘creative cities’ (Landry, 2008). Since the beginning of the economic reform at the end of the 1970s, China has adopted vigorous policies to encourage technical and scientific innovations in order to accelerate the production process from assembling and manufacturing to innovation and the conception of new products. Despite these policies, Chinese domestic firms mostly rely on the transfer of knowledge and technologies from foreign partners, therefore departing from the development models observed in East Asian economies (Arvanitis et al., 2006). China has become a leading production...
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