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BEYOND THE GPN–NEW REGIONALISM DIVIDE IN CHINA: RESTRUCTURING THE CLOTHING INDUSTRY, REMAKING THE WENZHOU MODEL

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Abstract:

ABSTRACT.

This article attempts to advance the research on industrial districts and regional development through a study of the restructuring of the clothing industry in Wenzhou Municipality, a regional driver of the Chinese economy. Wenzhou is known for the Wenzhou model of development traditionally centred on family‐owned small businesses embedded in local institutions. The clothing industry is one of the leading industries in Wenzhou, and a cluster with national significance has emerged, where most of the production components can be purchased locally. However, the industry has been scaled up nationally and internationally, with the expansion of sales networks and production facilities across China, and to a lesser extent, abroad. This restructuring has changed the endogenous nature of industrial clusters/districts. The restructuring challenges the orthodox notion of the Wenzhou model and the New Regionalism literature, particularly the orthodox notion of Marshallian industrial districts that overly emphasizes small firms and local assets, and the global production network perspective that highlights coupling with global lead firms in regional development.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-0467.2011.00375.x

Affiliations: Center for Modern Chinese City Studies, East China Normal University Shanghai, China and Department of Geography and Institute of Public and International Affairs, University of Utah 260 S. Central Campus Dr. Rm. 270 Salt Lake City, UT United States 84112–9155

Publication date: September 1, 2011

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