Tropical Geography


How does the New Round of Trade Protection Change the Innovation Network of Industry-College-Institute Cooperation in the Pearl River Delta Electronic Communication Industry and Affect Innovation Performance?

Xiangyu Wang1(), Yuyao Ye2, Xibo Wu1(), Zhiying Zhang3, Fengyu Cheng1, Xiaohua Zou1, Beilei Zhao4,5, Hong'ou Zhang2   

  1. 1.Regional Development Institute, Guangzhou Academy of Social Sciences, Guangzhou 510410, China
    2.Key Lab of Guangdong for Utilization of Remote Sensing and Geographical Information System, Guangdong Open Laboratory of Geospatial Information Technology and Application, Guangzhou Institute of Geography, Guangdong Academy of Sciences, Guangzhou 510070, China
    3.Guangdong Academy of Sciences, Guangzhou 510070, China
    4.Faculty of Applied Economics, University of Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Beijing 102488, China
    5.Guangzhou Urban Strategy Institute, Guangzhou 510410, China
  • Received:2023-06-14 Revised:2023-11-18 Online:2023-12-07
  • Contact: Xibo Wu;


The international non-tariff trade protection against China has gradually increased since 2018, hindering technology trade. Under the impact of the new trade protection, we still know little about how the electronic communication industry (as one of the strategic high-tech industries)changes the innovation cooperation relationship and the innovation performance. Owing to the failure of geographical research to integrate trade protection into the existing research framework from an institutional perspective, the trade protection literature and the innovation geography literature do not intersect. However, the trade geography literature has not paid enough attention to the evolution of industrial innovation in China in recent years and has not taken into account the heterogeneity of the industry-college-institute cooperation and innovation relationship and its impact on regional industrial innovation performance. Based on the 2014-2021 US Export Control Regulations and the invention patent data of the electronic communication industry in the Pearl River Delta, this study uses descriptive statistics, a Quadratic Assignment Procedure, and a negative binomial regression model. It explores both the mechanism and effect of a new round of trade protection on industry-college-institute cooperation and their joint impact on cooperative innovation performance. The study finds that the structure of the industry-college-institute cooperative innovation relationship in the electronic communication industry of the Pearl River Delta has gradually decentralized, and its heterogeneity growth tends to stall. The new round of trade protection significantly regulates geographical proximity, deteriorating the geographical scale of cooperative innovation. The regression results show that under the impact of trade protection, the heterogeneity of industry–university–research cooperation changes from positive to negative, and the inverted U-shaped relationship has reached a significant level. Trade protection changes the influence of social and cognitive proximities and of geographical proximity on cooperative innovation performance, and the moderating effect of trade protection is highlighted by the positive effect of strengthening geographical proximity on industry–university–research cooperation and innovation performance. The above findings remind us of the need to further refine and optimize innovation support policies. Therefore, the study puts forward some targeted policy suggestions, namely, to formulate innovation support policies suitable for the internal and externalized innovation transaction costs of different types of enterprises, strengthen the dominant role of enterprises in innovation, and promote cross-regional cooperation. To a certain extent, it can inform the decision-making by China's regional strategic industries around ending the international technology trade blockade and achieving high-quality independent innovation and technical cooperation.

Key words: trade protection, industry-college-institute cooperation, innovation network, innovation performance, relationship heterogeneity, electronic communication, multidimensional proximity, Pearl River Delta

CLC Number: 

  • F273.1