Papers in Evolutionary Economic Geography

June 19, 2011

# 11.10 Related Variety, Global Connectivity and Institutional Embeddedness: Internet Development in Beijing and Shanghai Compared

Filed under: 2011 — Tags: , , , , — T.Broekel @ 6:04 pm

Jun Zhang


This paper contributes to the Evolutionary Economic Geography literature by employing the conceptualization of ‘related variety’ to compare the emerging internet industry in China’s two largest city-regions: Beijing and Shanghai. Official website registration records, Alexa internet traffic counts, venture capital investment data and information gathered through interviews with internet entrepreneurs were combined to develop the analysis. The findings confirm that the replication and diversification of related variety play a leading role in shaping the locational dynamics of an emerging industry. However, the localized nature of new firm formation should not be taken for granted as transnational entrepreneurship and venture capital are playing an increasingly salient role. The contrasting experience of internet evolution in these two Chinese city-regions also suggests that a region’s enduring political-institutional embeddedness significantly influences the generation and evolution of their related variety.


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