Tropical Geography


High-Quality Development Path of the "Enclave Economy" from the Perspective of Symbiosis: A Case Study of Guangqing Economic Cooperation Zone (Guangde Park)

Xianfeng Xu1,2,3(), Jili Xu4,5, Jiangchun Yao1,2,3(), Jialing Huang1,2,3, Sicong Hu1,2,3   

  1. 1.Guangzhou Urban Planning & Design Survey Research Institute, Monitoring and Early Warning, Guangzhou, 510060, China
    2.Guangzhou Collaborative Innovation Center of Natural Resources Planning and Marine Technology, Monitoring and Early Warning, Guangzhou, 510060, China
    3.Guangdong Enterprise Key Laboratory for Urban Sensing, Monitoring and Early Warning, Guangzhou, 510060, China
    4.Guangzhou Institute of Geography, Guangdong Academy of Sciences, Guangzhou 510070, China
    5.Key Lab of Guangdong for Utilization of Remote Sensing and Geographical Information System, Guangzhou 510070, China
  • Received:2023-06-14 Revised:2023-08-04 Online:2023-11-29
  • Contact: Jiangchun Yao;


The "enclave economy" is an important governance tool for promoting regional integration. Guangdong Province occupies the leading position in exploring the "enclave economy" model in China, which has effectively promoted the development of the east and northwest of Guangdong Province through the "point to area" approach. However, certain problems that are associated with the "enclave economy" concept, including a weak level of industrial relatedness, disconnection with the development of the local urban system, and inadequate interest driving mechanisms, need to be urgently addressed. The article aims to explore the high-quality development path of the "enclave economy" in the new era, taking advantage of the symbiosis theory. Based on field research and semi-structured interview methods, the present study attempts to not only probe into the cooperative relationship and mutually beneficial symbiosis mechanism among different actors in the "enclave economy" but also explore a more sustainable and mutually beneficial development "enclave economy" model. With respect to theoretical contribution, based on the symbiosis theory and the characteristics of the "enclave economy," this study facilitates a better understanding of the high-quality development logic of the "enclave economy" from the perspective of symbiosis in particular and establishes a theoretical framework comprising the "industrial symbiosis network-industrial symbiosis unit-interest symbiosis mechanism" components. Empirically, this study takes the Guangqing Economic Cooperation Zone (Guangde Park) as the case study; reveals the development process and problems of the "enclave economy," including the isolation of industry transplantation, fragmentation of industry-city units, and locking of interests and mismatch between rights and responsibilities; and proposes high-quality development strategies, such as establishing a cross-regional "enclave economic circle," a resource-linking platform between industry and city, and a community of interests in industrial parks and towns, to form a more sustainable symmetric and mutually beneficial symbiotic mechanism. The key contribution of this study lies in the theoretical framework for the high-quality development of the "enclave economy" through the lens of symbiosis, which enriches the ways of analysis and cognitive logic of the "enclave economy" and advances cross-regional cooperation and "enclave economy" research. It enhances the cross-territorial geographic thinking of regional cooperation and "enclave economy" research, holding the potential to provide decision-making references for the promotion of regional coordinated development in Guangdong Province in the new period. It also has practical application value for relieving the pressure of unbalanced and insufficient regional development in China by promoting cross-municipal and cross-provincial cooperation.

Key words: symbiotic theory, enclave economy, industrial transfer, high-quality development, Guangqing Economic Cooperation Zone

CLC Number: 

  • F127