State-firm interaction in economic development of China: the case of Intelligent Connected Vehicle Industry in Hunan Xiangjiang New Area

Authors: Guannan ZOU*, Department of Geography & Resource Management, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Jiang XU, Department of Geography & Resource Management, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Haibin YANG, Department of Management, City University of Hong Kong
Topics: Urban Geography, Economic Geography, China
Keywords: State-firm relationship, Central China, intelligent connected vehicle Industry, Urban Entrepreneurialism
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/9/2021
Start / End Time: 6:25 AM / 7:40 AM
Room: Virtual 16
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Recent years have seen a rising intelligent connected vehicle (ICV) industry in Hunan Xiangjiang New Area (HXNA), an inland national strategic new area formally designated by China’s central government in 2015. Covering a land tract of 1,200 km2, HXNA has successfully nurtured a vibrant ICV sector in keen competition with coastal cities, which are also extremely active in attracting new industries like ICV. This phenomenon raises an intriguing question: How can HXNA, despite its inland location, succeed in developing the ICV industry in a highly competitive environment? The existing scholarship in urban entrepreneurialism studies has insightfully explored how governments and businesses constantly adjust their respective development strategies to match with each other’s opportunity structures. Nonetheless, it has overarchingly adopted either a state-centric or a firm-centric approach to unpack state-firm relations, leading to a focus on the unidirectional causality from the state to the firm, or vice versa. In this presentation, we argue with reference to the case of HXNA’s ICV industry that such single-sided approach cannot adequately address the emerging state-firm relations in developing new industries, because neither the state nor the firm could overly dominate the advancement of these industries in China. Rather, an interactive framework is needed to decode the economic landscape as co-shaped by the state and the firm in a reciprocal manner.

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