Trend of Spatial Configuration Evolvement of Economic Development in China under Globalization

  • 1. Institute of Geographical Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, 100101;
    2. The Graduate School of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049

Received date: 2006-01-17

  Revised date: 2006-09-16

  Online published: 2007-09-20


Economic globalization has been one of the major considerations in making development strategies for both national and local governments and firms.Essentially,globalization is a set of on-going processes that are interconnected and operated unevenly across space and time.One of the signifiers of globalization is the emerging global production network,which distinguishes the current state of the world economy from its past configurations.Since the spread of production network is territorially embedded,the spatial implications of globalization lie with the interaction between the "global" and "local/place".Many writers have argued that,as a result of globalization and the rapid development of new information and communication technology,the world economy is being restructured towards a system of "flows",connections and networks,which makes "gateway" cities much more significant than ever in attracting those "flows" and channeling them with their hinterlands.Such dynamics have been redrawing the map of the world economy into one of archipelagos—a few of extended metropolitan regions(EMR) with gateway cities as cores across the globe.Since the early 1980s,China has been actively and extensively involved in the process of globalization through attracting huge amount of foreign direct investments(FDI) and growing into a big exporter of manufactured goods.Inflow of FDI and growth of foreign trade,which have taken place mostly in the coastal region,have strengthen the coastal "axle" of the "T-shaped" spatial structure of national economic development in China.This paper,based on an introduction to theoretical arguments on globalization and its spatial implications,first analyzes the trend of FDI inflow into China as well as potential growth of China’s foreign trade in the next two decades or so.It argues that China will keep its attractions to FDI because of the combined advantages of low production cost and sheer market scale there,and will continue to act as a "world factory" in the years to come.Since vertical FDI generally favorites coastal locations for convenience of exports whereas horizontal FDI also tends to go to favorable transport nodes,either coastal or inland,FDI inflow will further consolidate the "T-shaped" spatial structure of national economic development in China,with the coastal regions as one axle and those along the Changjiang(Yangtze) River as the other.In addition,as revealed by theoretical arguments,FDI will "flow" via a number of gateway cities into hinterlands.Thus,FDI inflow may lead to the emergence of several EMRs in China,which tend to be located mainly on the "T-shaped" spatial structure.Therefore,a scenario of the spatial structure of economic development in China in the next two decades is likely to be that economic activities agglomerate into a number of EMRs on the "T-shaped" spatial structure(along the coastal and the Changjiang River).This trend should be one of the major considerations in making future regional development policies in China.

Cite this article

LIU Wei-Dong, ZHANG Guo-Qin, SONG Zhou-Ying . Trend of Spatial Configuration Evolvement of Economic Development in China under Globalization[J]. SCIENTIA GEOGRAPHICA SINICA, 2007 , 27(5) : 609 -616 . DOI: 10.13249/j.cnki.sgs.2007.05.609


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