PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY ›› 2020, Vol. 39 ›› Issue (8): 1367-1384.doi: 10.18306/dlkxjz.2020.08.011

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Research framework and prospect of industrial value chain upgrading and spatial upgrading based on a multiple scale perspective

ZHU Shengjun1(), HUANG Yongyuan1, HU Xiaohui2,*()   

  1. 1. Department of Urban and Regional Planning, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China
    2. School of Public Administration, Zhejiang University of Finance & Economics, Hangzhou 310018, China
  • Received:2019-07-08 Revised:2019-10-12 Online:2020-08-28 Published:2020-10-28
  • Contact: HU Xiaohui;
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China(41971154);National Science Fund for Young Scholars(41701115);Key Project of National Natural Science Foundation of China(41731278)


Since the implementation of the reform and opening up policy, driven by the export-oriented developmental pattern, China has deeply joined the globalization process and quickly realized industrial upgrading. However, since the beginning of the twenty-first century, China's manufacturing industry has faced many crises and challenges such as rising costs and institutional changes. In response to these challenges, China's manufacturing industry has begun a new round of industrial upgrading, which fundamentally reshapes the industrial space and organizational structure of the manufacturing industry, changing the function, role, and influence of China's manufacturing in regional and global export markets. Focusing on industrial upgrading, this article first reviewed the research on industrial upgrading pattern, and divided it into industrial value chain upgrading and spatial upgrading. Then, it examined the industrial upgrading mechanism from multiple scales: global, national, regional, local, and enterprise, and drew the following main conclusions: 1) Value chain upgrading and spatial upgrading are two sides of industrial upgrading. Value chain upgrading focuses on organizational restructuring, and spatial upgrading emphasizes geographical restructuring. Spatial upgrading has four types: localization, delocalization, relocalization, and regionalization, which are coupling and interacting with value chain upgrading. An analysis framework combining both can comprehensively reflect the status of industrial upgrading in China. 2) Considering the complex and diverse upgrading phenomena in China, the existing literature on industrial upgrading pattern is relatively simple, and it is necessary to pay more attention to the cross-upgrading path and the non-linear, complex, and diverse nature of China's industrial upgrading in the future. 3) China's industrial upgrading process is driven by the forces from multiple scales of global, national, regional, local, and enterprise. We propose a multi-scale integration perspective that abandons single-perspective, top-down, and hierarchical ways of thinking. Using the multi-scale analysis framework to investigate the upgrading mechanisms can help us to better understand the development and the catching up path of China's industry.

Key words: multi-scale, industrial value chain upgrading, industrial spatial upgrading, upgrading mechanisms, China