The Geographical Coevolution and Industrial Symbiosis of the Formal and Informal Networks

Authors: Yifan Cai*, Clark University
Topics: Economic Geography, China, Business Geography
Keywords: intellectual property rights; informality; commons; patents; late industrialization
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/8/2020
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:15 AM
Room: Plaza Court 3, Sheraton, Concourse Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


This paper investigates the spatial coevolution and industrial symbiosis of the formal and informal innovation networks by analyzing the varying and evolving intellectual property rights (IPR) strategies of firms. Specifically, it investigates how state-imposed IPR regimes are negotiated by informal actors in the mobile phone industry in China. Drawing data from my interviews with business and state actors during a one-year fieldwork, this study sheds light on the blurred boundary and intertwined relations between the formal and informal networks. In the case of the mobile phone industry, this research illuminates the underlying links between the formal and informal, and argues that the informal innovation network has been an inextricable and organic part of knowledge production and diffusion. This study further discusses the implications for distributive justice and inclusive development of the global knowledge economy, as well as for innovation governance in the context of intellectual capitalism and techno-nationalism.

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