Temporary Knowledge Ecologies
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Temporary Knowledge Ecologies

The Rise of Trade Fairs in the Asia-Pacific Region

Edited by Harald Bathelt and Gang Zeng

Temporary Knowledge Ecologies investigates and theorizes the nature, rise and evolution of trade fair knowledge ecologies in the Asia-Pacific region. It provides a comprehensive overview of trade fairs in this key world region applying a comparative perspective that involves highly diverse developed and developing countries. The book identifies (i) knowledge generation and transfer processes through trade fairs, (ii) interrelationships between industrial specialization and trade fair specialization, and (iii) linkages between economic development, industrial policy and trade fair development.
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Chapter 7: The spatial distribution of China’s exhibition industry

Yi-Wen Zhu and Gang Zeng


In recent years, China’s exhibition industry has developed quite rapidly (see Golfetto and Rinallo, this volume; Jin and Weber, this volume). In 1997, China hosted approximately 1,000 exhibitions overall. By 2011, the number had increased to approximately 7,300 exhibitions (Wang 2004; Guo 2013). Accordingly, China’s direct revenues from exhibitions increased from approximately $490 million (USD) in 2001 to $2.65 billion (USD) in 2008 (Guo 2011). As a result of this growth, the exhibition industry has become more important as an economic factor in many urban areas. And along with this, scholars have begun to study trade fairs and related activities in China more intensively (see Bathelt and Zeng, this volume; Kong and Zhang, this volume). From the perspective of economic geography, the spatial distribution of the trade fair industry and its dynamics in Mainland China are, however, not yet fully understood (see, also, Jin and Weber, this volume). Key questions with respect to the spatial distribution of trade fairs in Mainland China are the following: Where are trade fairs located and where does most of the trade fair activity take place? Which are the factors (variables) that influence trade fair activity and development? In other words: what are the characteristics of cities that have large trade fair activity? If we are able to answer these questions, we may be able to draw important lessons regarding urban economic policy.

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