TROPICAL GEOGRAPHY ›› 2017, Vol. 37 ›› Issue (6): 835-843.doi: 10.13284/j.cnki.rddl.003009

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Development Path of Industrial Cluster Based on the Perspective of Co-evolution: A Case Study of Toy Industrial Cluster in Chenghai,Shantou City

XU Lin,SHEN Jing   

  1. (School of Geography and Planning,Sun Yat-Sen University,Guangzhou 510275,China)
  • Online:2017-11-05 Published:2017-11-05

Abstract: Research on path evolution of industrial clusters contributes to industrial upgrade and improving competitiveness. The industrial cluster is a complex adaptive system, and its path evolution is interwoven with multiple populations, presenting multiple path dependence, thus the traditional research method is difficult to abstract its theoretical model. The co-evolution theory which provides a new perspective of dynamic interaction is an important concept applied in researching the economic landscape evolution while little research has focused on the cluster especially the differences and mechanism of each population in the various phases of industrial cluster. Since the industrial cluster is made up of firms that are bound together geographically, technologically and relationally, and is subject to changes in institutions, its path evolution is the aggregate outcomes of firms, network, institutions and their synergies. The triangle stakeholders play different roles on the different stages of path evolution. Thus our work proposes a triangle analytical framework of industrial cluster path evolution with “firm, network and institution”. Then the empirical study uses the framework to analyze Chenghai’s toy industrial cluster, located in Shantou city, Guangdong Province, which is a successful representative of typical industry cluster that has grown up since China’s reform and opening up and development. The results show that path evolution of the industrial cluster is strongly impacted by the synergistic action of firms, network and institution. Firms, network and institution interact like a spiral on path evolution of industrial cluster based on the local initial conditions firstly and then change their mechanism of industrial as to follow the changing of environment in the three stages of path evolution including path creation, path development, path locking or new path creation. In regard to the path evolution of Chenghai’s toy industrial cluster, the cumulative effect of local path dependence with the constantly updated and spiral interactive adaptation as well as the co-evolution of firms, network and institutions jointly promote the toy industrial cluster from the resource gathering, flexible production system to innovative system. Therefore, a competitive cluster seems to be a co-evolutionary hotspot. In addition, the study finds that in the context of societal transition and economic globalization, three important factors have a huge impact on the path evolution of industrial cluster in China, they are the coupling of multiple spatial scale institution transformation with the local factors in the context of marketization and globalization, the interaction feedback of regional culture, firm behavior and network, as well as key roles of leading firms. Consequently, our findings provide suggestions for promoting the path evolution of industrial cluster, such as making full use of local endemic assets, establishing a collaborative network driven by leading firms, creating a collaborative environment among firms, governments and institutions by local institutional innovation to set up a “global pipeline-local buzz” mechanism.

Key words: industrial cluster, path evolution, co-evolution, firm-network-institution, Chenghai’s toy