Path creation of mobile game industrial clusters in the digitalization era: the rise of indigenous digital platforms in Shenzhen, China

Authors: Chun YANG*, Hong Kong Baptist University
Topics: Economic Geography, Regional Geography, Business Geography
Keywords: path creation, mobile game industry, digitalization, platform, China
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 1:10 PM / 2:50 PM
Room: Marriott Ballroom Salon 1, Marriott, Lobby Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Existing literature on path creation of local and regional development from the evolutionary economic geography (EEG) perspective has focused on empirical analysis of manufacturing sectors, while with insufficient studies on new path development of creative industrial clusters. The 2010s witnessed a growing body of studies devoting to examine the “path as a process” in emerging industries, e.g. offshore wind and clean-tech sectors in the European countries, while rare has been conducted on emerging creative industries in the context of emerging economies, e.g. China. This study attempts to enrich the literature through examining the path creation of mobile game industrial clusters in China and particularly Shenzhen as China’s “Silicon Valley” which has nurtured a number of world well-known high-tech electronics companies and recently digital platform firms. Drawing on the intensive on-site investigation and in-depth interviews with game distributors, developers, publishers and digital platform firms in Shenzhen during 2017 and 2018, this paper argues that the rise of indigenous digital platforms, e.g. Tencent, as a new path for strategic coupling of China’s local mobile game clusters with the global production networks (GPN) of game industries has been attributed to the salient regulations designated by multi-scalar governments. Yet, the case study of Tencent elucidates that the China-centred mobile game production and consumption networks have tended to regionalization in Asia. The findings are helpful for conceptualization of new path development through combining insights from research on EEG and GPN in creative industries in the era of digitalization.

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