PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY ›› 2019, Vol. 38 ›› Issue (2): 248-258.doi: 10.18306/dlkxjz.2019.02.008

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Determinants and mechanisms of degree centrality in the urban network in China: A study based on corporate networks of the largest 500 listed companies

Kerong SHENG1(), Yu YANG1, Wei SUN2,3,*()   

  1. 1. Economic School, Shandong University of Technology, Zibo 255012, Shandong, China
    2. Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
    3. College of Resources and Environment, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
  • Received:2018-08-09 Revised:2018-12-20 Online:2019-02-28 Published:2019-02-28
  • Contact: Wei SUN;
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China, No. 41771173 and 41871117.


This article aims to analyze the determinants and mechanisms of network power and position of cities for developing urban network theory and improving urbanization policy in China. Data on headquarter and branch locations of the largest 500 listed companies in China in 2016 were subjected to ownership linkage model to approximate the urban network, resulting in a 294×294 valued urban network. Three conclusions are drawn: 1) Outdegree centrality presents a dual core spatial structure, betweeness has a primate distribution, and indegree centrality is a multi-core system. These three measurements of centrality have a strong spatial correlation, and the cities with high centrality values are densely concentrated in the traditional urban agglomerations. 2) City attributes such as market potential, key resources, location condition, and business environment have a significant positive impact on the centrality of urban network, and the sensitivity of different centrality characteristics to various types of influencing factors is different. 3) Selecting superior actors, preferential attachment, and geographical proximity are the dynamic mechanisms in the expansion of urban network space in China, which will further strengthen the power of cities with traditional advantages. The Chinese government must actively respond to the possibly increasing gap between cities under the network environment and promote the cooperation between cities on a larger spatial scale.

Key words: production fragmentation, urban network, selecting superior actors, preferential attachment, China