With the breakdown of the Danwei (work unit) system and the deepening of social restructuring, housing structure in Chinese cities has undergone a profound transformation after more than two decades’ housing reform. Commodity housing estates become the predominant form of residential neighbourhoods, and give rise to a multiplex power relation entangling multiple stakeholders including the residents committee, property management company, and homeowner association (HOA). The current studies on HOA are mainly centered in the field of sociology, law and management sciences, and few is from geographical perspective, moreover, discussions on the institution are more than empirical studies, especially, qualitative analysis is highlighted and quantitative analysis is seldom used. Based on a large-scale household survey and in-depth interviews in Guangzhou in 2012, in combination of collective action, multi-center governance, community governance, we studied the gated community development characteristics and governance efficacy in Guangzhou, and analyzed the influence factors of governance efficacy by means of linear regression. We found that the current development of HOA in China is facing the problems such as imperfect legal environment, shortage of operation funds, lack of participation of the property owners, which is not good for the growth and promotion of “civil society” and ‘collective action’, and difficult to form an effective “multi-center governance order”. The governance efficacy of HOA is affected by a number of factors, including individual characteristics such as household registration, awareness and understanding of property management regulations, neighbourhood characteristics such as neighbourhood size, housing price, and neighbourhood disputes and public participation.