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 11: Conclusion

Ding Ke


Source: Copyright © 2006, Eiichi Yoshida. Figure 11.1 A marketplace opened by Chinese merchants in Johannesburg, South Africa 11.1 FUNDAMENTAL DIFFERENCES BETWEEN SPECIALIZED MARKETS AND TRADITIONAL MARKETPLACES As long as transaction activities occur there must be marketplaces. An extremely complicated market-based trading system was formed in traditional China (Skinner 1964, 1965a, 1965b, 1977). In the early age of European industrialization, marketplaces had spread to Paris, London and all the big cities (Braudel 1992). Even in modern times, marketplaces 200 M2920 – DING 9781781006276 PRINT.indd 200 20/06/2012 13:15 Conclusion 201 still survive indomitably in most developing countries (Geertz et al. 1979; Goto 2005; Iwasaki 2002). Previous studies have treated specialized markets as a mere modern piracy of these traditional marketplaces. The “phased market approach” considers that the specialized market system must be replaced by a more modern distribution system. The “market stratification approach” merely noted that the specialized market system will survive for a long period because China has a huge low-end market. However, all these studies have failed to forecast the situation in which the traditional market system itself is modernized. The case we have made throughout this book is that revolutionary changes have occurred in the specialized market, changes that have profoundly improved the means of market access, enriched the driving forces of value chains, and eventually changed the business environment of small businesses. 11.1.1 Traders The changes in traders in the specialized markets clearly revealed the differences between specialized markets and traditional marketplaces. We first discuss the changes in...

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