PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY ›› 2019, Vol. 38 ›› Issue (2): 259-270.doi: 10.18306/dlkxjz.2019.02.009

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Correlation between cities’ characteristics and their official websites’ contents in the context of city marketing: An empirical analysis based on 28 Chinese world cities

Huaikuan LIU(), Desheng XUE*(), Ye LIU   

  1. School of Geography and Planning, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou 510275, China
  • Received:2018-04-11 Revised:2018-12-21 Online:2019-02-28 Published:2019-02-28
  • Contact: Desheng XUE;
  • Supported by:
    International (Regional) Joint Research Program of the National Natural Science Foundation of China, No. 41320104001;National Natural Science Foundation of China, No. 41871140;Special Fund Project of the Basic Research Service of Sun Yat-sen University, No. 17lgjc04.


In the era of globalization and network society, more city governments launch to market themselves through the Internet to attract talents, capital, and technology in order to promote economic development. In this regard, academics began to do research on how cities use their official websites to market themselves. In most cases, the marketing contents on cities' official websites are significantly different and further research on the causes of dissimilar marketing contents indicates that city characteristics correlate to the selection of website contents. In some cases, city governments market themselves with contents conforming to their current situation. However, other empirical studies argue that sometimes city governments may also market themselves with contents completely dissimilar to their factual features. Therefore, how city features correlate with the selection of official websites' marketing contents has attracted international academic attention. In previous studies, Chinese scholars generally focused on analyzing the specific marketing strategies and consequent effects of different cities' marketing strategies but recently, some researchers have started to use quantitative methods to analyze the correlation between city features and their marketing strategies. However, as city features involve diverse aspects including economy, politics, society, and culture, the presumption that all city characteristics significantly correlate with the selection of marketing contents has overlooked the differentiated significance of city characteristics. In this sense, with quantitative methods including cluster analysis, principal component analysis, and multiple comparison tests, this research analyzed the main types of marketing contents on 28 Chinese world cities' official websites and the correlation between city characteristics and marketing content selection. The conclusions are as follows. First, the marketing contents on the websites of Chinese world cities can be categorized as four main types including politics and culture, administrative and information, services, and landscape and environment. Second, the marketing contents of Chinese world cities significantly correlate with economic globalization, tertiary industrialization, unemployment rate, political status, and economic growth rate. Moreover, the correlation between city characteristics and websites' marketing contents is influenced by political circumstances and the long history and rapid urbanization process of China. Third, living condition and tourism, economic scale and public budget, passenger transport capacity, income, population growth rate, and land area all play an insignificant role on marketing contents, indicating that it is oversimplified to assume that all city features significantly correlate with marketing contents when analyzing the causes of the diversity of marketing contents on cities' official websites. In other words, the correlation with marketing content selection might significantly differ across different types of city features. This research may contribute to recognizing the city features that have strong correlation with world cities' marketing contents, which can be taken into consideration by other Chinese globalizing cities when selecting contents for their official websites.

Key words: city characteristic, city marketing, official website, correlation, world city, China