Market Platforms, Industrial Clusters and Small Business Dynamics
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Market Platforms, Industrial Clusters and Small Business Dynamics

Specialized Markets in China

Ding Ke

Specialized markets are a unique product of China’s economic transition. They are marketplaces located in industrial clusters, specializing in the wholesale of local commodities and related goods. Ding Ke reveals that, despite their seemingly primitive form, specialized markets appeared in many of the modern industrial sectors and were paradoxically upgraded and expanded as these clusters developed. He argues that specialized markets have also formed solid linkages with marketplaces in various cities in China and in other developing economies. A powerful, emerging market-oriented distribution system has thus appeared. Based on thorough fieldwork covering ten years, and using the novel theory of the platform, this book clarifies the unique development logic of specialized markets.
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Chapter 10: The Typology of Apparel Clusters in China

Ding Ke


Source: The author. Figure 10.1 A trading broker negotiating with the owners of an apparel factory 10.1 INTRODUCTION1 This chapter will clarify the structural features of the market platform mode cluster through a comparison of the three types of apparel clusters in China. Our basic viewpoint is that the structures of industrial clusters could differ depending on the ways in which the cluster and the market are connected. From this viewpoint, we introduce the key concept of the intermediary for classifying and comparing the industrial clusters. The 178 M2920 – DING 9781781006276 PRINT.indd 178 20/06/2012 13:15 The typology of apparel clusters in China 179 intermediary is an enterprise or an institution which connects the industrial cluster and a distant market, being positioned precisely on the boundary between production and distribution. In terms of the different market conditions, intermediaries can be classified into various types. For example, as a consumer goods industry, China’s apparel clusters generally manufacture products for three types of markets, namely the domestic low-end market, the developed country market, where the majority of consumers are middle class, and the domestic middle and high-end market.2 Accordingly, there are three types of apparel organizers in China. The first type is a market platform mode cluster (see Figure 2.3) and the second and third types are merchant mode clusters (see Figure 2.2). In terms of the differences between these three organizers, China’s apparel clusters can be classified into three types, namely the specialized-market-based cluster, the export-oriented cluster, and the big-company-dominated cluster....

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