PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY ›› 2019, Vol. 38 ›› Issue (10): 1583-1595.doi: 10.18306/dlkxjz.2019.10.013

• Special Issue | Empirical Study • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Geographical agglomeration and location factors of the new-born cross-border manufactural firms in the Pearl River Delta

YE Yuyao1,WU Kangmin1,2,3,ZHANG Hongou1,WU Qitao1,CHEN Weilian1   

  1. 1. Guangzhou Institute of Geography, Guangzhou 510070, China
    2. Guangzhou Institute of Geochemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Guangzhou 510640, China
    3. University of Chinese Academy of Sciences,Beijing 100049, China
  • Received:2019-06-10 Revised:2019-08-07 Online:2019-10-28 Published:2019-11-01
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China(No. 41671130);National Natural Science Foundation of China(No. 41671128);GDAS' Project of Science and Technology Development(No. 2016GDASRC-0101);The Technology Plan of Guangzhou(No. 201707010427)


The cross-border capital of the Pearl River Delta has received extensive attention from international economic geographers because of its cultural diversity and geopolitical specificity. The theoretical model of "hybrid capitalism" was proposed base on this. However, due to the limitations of data and methods, relevant research mostly stays at the level of theoretical and qualitative exploration. The research based on firm-level samples is deficient, especially quantitative models that incorporate the new economic factors such as firm heterogeneity. Based on the sample data of enterprises, this study synthetically considered the traditional economic factors and new economic factors such as institution, agglomeration, innovation, and firm heterogeneity. In order to explain the mechanism of foreign direct investment (FDI) location choice from the firm level, we also combined a spatial analysis method and spatial regression model. Kernel density spatial analysis and spatial lag modeling based on firm samples were conducted to uncover the geographical agglomeration characteristics and location factors of the new-born cross-border manufacturing firms (NCMF) in the Pearl River Delta (PRD) during 2005-2009 and 2009-2013. To explore the location choice mechanism of FDI in the transitional period, we also focused on the impact mechanism of location choice of NCMF in the PRD before and after the global financial crisis (2005-2009). The main results are as follow: 1) The spatial agglomeration of the NCMF in the PRD is lower than before. The NCMF in the two periods of 2005-2009 and 2009-2013 showed great differences in structure and distribution characteristics. The hotspot of firm distribution began to expand from the east coast of the PRD to the west side after 2005, and after 2009, firm agglomeration in the east coast was again obvious. 2) After the global financial crisis, the development momentum of the PRD has undergone fundamental changes. The advantages of low labor cost and preferential policies of development zones that attracted cross-border manufacturing firms have gradually weakened, while agglomeration factors, innovation factors, and firm heterogeneity have become the key factors that affect the spatial agglomeration and location choice of NCMF. 3) In the period of a dynamic transformation, the Pearl River Delta needs to regain its new advantages of development by building a sound institutional environment, establishing innovation networks, enhancing factor agglomeration, and formulating diversified investment policies according to firm preferences. This study examined the location choice of FDI within the economic region using the firm-level data, and may provide an empirical reference for understanding the dynamic transformation and spatial reconstruction of the export-oriented economic region represented by the Pearl River Delta in China during the transition period.

Key words: NCMF, labor cost, innovation, institution, firm heterogeneity