Tropical Geography ›› 2021, Vol. 41 ›› Issue (2): 364-373.doi: 10.13284/j.cnki.rddl.003318

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The Evolution Path and Network of Agricultural Clusters from the Perspective of "Co-Location Clusters": A Case Study of the Zhangping Tea Industry in Fujian Province

Jia Chen1(), Suqiong Wei2(), Feng Li2   

  1. 1.Department of Geography, Ocean College, Minjiang University, Fuzhou 350108, China
    2.a Key Laboratory of Resources and Environment of Subtropical, Fuzhou 350007, China
  • Received:2020-06-14 Revised:2020-07-28 Online:2021-04-27 Published:2021-04-27
  • Contact: Suqiong Wei;


The formation and evolution of agricultural industrial clusters experience a life cycle comprising different stages, accompanied by different paths, networks, and institutional characteristics. Foreign capital-driven agricultural industrial clusters and local endogenous clusters show different development characteristics at different life cycle stages. This study aims to provide a useful reference for promoting the local embeddedness and innovation network construction of clusters, thus strengthening the cooperation and co-innovation evolution between foreign capital-driven clusters and local endogenous clusters. Taking Zhangping City, Fujian Province, as the research area, combined with field research and a semi-structured interview, this paper establishes the research framework of "path-network-institution" evolution. Further, it attempts to analyze the evolution process of their co-development based on the comparative study of the evolution paths and essences of Zhangping Yongfu High-mountain tea and the Narcissus tea industrial cluster. In doing so, it adopts the perspective of the life cycles of cluster evolution. The results showed that the trigger mechanism of the Yongfu High-mountain tea cluster drives by the Taiwanese agricultural investment. Therefore, the Yongfu High-mountain tea cluster shows stronger initial kinetic energy and institutional dependence than the Narcissus tea industrial cluster. Driven by Taiwanese agricultural investment, it experienced the embryonic stage of original path transplantation by both ends of the outside world. It has entered its growth stage by superimposing multi-level policy forces, and gradually accomplished the path breakthrough of the integration of the three industries. During this period, it was accompanied by the evolution process from the original relationship network to the local production network and was gradually embedded into the global production network. However, its local spillover effect is limited and there are risk factors that engender path locking. The development history of the Narcissus tea industry in Zhangping can be traced back to the early 20th century. As it was affected by war and other factors, this industrial development was interrupted in the 1950s. Hence, the trigger mechanism for the formation of the Zhangping Narcissus tea industrial cluster is the path repair of the original agricultural cluster. It includes the inheritance of traditional technology, the advantages of local resources, and the promotion of the market and government in the new era. The Zhangping Narcissus tea industrial cluster shows stronger "initiative" and social system dependence than the Yongfu High-mountain tea cluster. On the basis of the original historical accumulation and regional endowment, it has achieved government-sponsored path restoration. With the path extension and dependence, the local production network has gradually formed, and the prototype of the innovation network of the cluster has developed. However, certain path locking risks remain, such as the limited scale of enterprise and the insufficient external force. The two clusters evolved from an independent symbiosis in their incubation stage to co-competition in the early stage of growth. Finally, they formed a relationship of "competition-cooperation," which indicates the potential and path of the development of "co-location clusters." To promote the development of a regional agricultural "co-location cluster", regional institutional arrangement is critical, in which leading enterprises, minor enterprises, and farmers' organizations are instrumental.

Key words: agricultural cluster, FDI driven cluster, co-location cluster, path network system, tea industry in Zhangping

CLC Number: 

  • F129.9