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The Inside Story of China's High-Tech Industry

Making Silicon Valley in Beijing

Yu Zhou

In the 1980s, China faced the monumental task of creating, from scratch, internationally competitive companies. This challenge was especially daunting in the information and communications technology (ICT) sector. The Inside Story of China's High-Tech Industry describes the emergence and growth of this industry in China through a historically situated analysis of China's leading science park, Beijing's Zhongguancun, also known as China's Silicon Valley. Zhou challenges the prevailing view that foreign multinational corporations and exports are the driving forces for technological progress in less developed countries by arguing that, in the case of China, it is the conjunction of domestic and export markets that has provided the main impetus to technological learning and the development of industry competitiveness. This is the best treatment to date of China's most important innovation region. It will be useful for scholars and students in the fields of economics, regional sciences, geography, planning, sociology, information technology, and business management, as well as for anyone interested in the rise of China and global technological development. « less more »
Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
Pages: 214Size: 6 x 9
978-0-7425-5579-2 • Hardback • December 2007 • $92.00 • (£65.00)
978-0-7425-5580-8 • Paperback • December 2007 • $38.00 • (£24.95)
978-1-4616-4451-4 • eBook • December 2007 • $36.00 • (£24.95)
Yu Zhou is associate professor in the Department of Earth Science and Geography at Vassar College.
Chapter 1: Making Silicon Valley in China: Zhongguancun
Chapter 2: From Offspring to Rebel: The Birth of ZGC and the Transformation of China's Science and Technology Establishments, 1950s–1980s
Chapter 3: Foreign "Wolf" and Local "Lamb": Multinational Companies and Resurgence of ZGC in the 1990s
Chapter 4: The Internet and the Restructuring of ZGC, 1998–2003
Chapter 5: The Anatomy of ZGC: The Domestic Companies
Chapter 6: The Dynamics of Internationalization in ZGC
Chapter 7: Grassroots Transnationals: Returnee Entrepreneurs
Chapter 8: China's Technical Standard Strategies: Toward an Alternative Path
The Inside Story of China's High-Tech Industry is a richly illuminating piece of scholarship that offers an interesting new perspective on the development of Beijing's Zhongguancun high-technology district and the implications of Zhongguancun's path for China's future technological and economic development. . . . Zhou impressively captures much of the policy, structural and even geographic change that has occurred in Zhongguancun over the past three decades. . . . Valuable and impressive.
China Quarterly

The most comprehensive and readable account of the development of the Zhongguancun (ZGC) high-technology area in Beijing to date. . . . It is by far the most informative and rich history of ZGC, and the combination of English and Chinese sources makes the evidence highly convincing. . . . A must-read.
Regional Studies

A landmark contribution to China's understudied R&D. This outstanding work represents some of the finest recent scholarship in Chinese urban and regional studies, which hopefully will lead to more case studies of individual industrial parks. I recommend it enthusiastically to those who are interested in science and technology development in Chinese cities.
Eurasian Geography and Economics

Anyone who is interested in high-technology industrialization, regional innovation systems, development of domestic companies, and high-technology multinational companies in China should read this well-researched book. Overall, Zhou successfully presents a comprehensive account of the evolution of ZGC. The book is well-written and easy to read. Zhou's personal experience as a Beijing native and her intense interaction with the interviewees truly provides an insider's view.
Peilei Fan; Economic Geography

This book is the ultimate guideline for researchers interested in ZGC and the dynamic technological development of China in general.
The China Journal

The development process of Zhongguancun is an amazing story. Every researcher and student on China who has not surveyed Zhongguancun ought to read The Inside Story of China's High-Tech Industry. I know of no other place where these crucial issues are explained as clearly and logically as they are in this book.
Jici Wang, Peking University

An informed and very readable account of the growth of 'China's Silicon Valley.' As debates about China's capacity for technological innovation unfold, the arguments presented here will get increased attention. A fine primer for explorations into China's high-tech future.
Richard P. Suttmeier, University of Oregon

This detailed study of the emergence of China's principal high-tech industrial cluster, demonstrating how it is shaped by both local and national processes and global high-tech networks, draws important conclusions about the conditions of possibility for technological dynamism and industrial evolution in the global periphery. It demonstrates that indigenous firms can out-compete TNCs in local and regional markets, that they can work with the resources and knowledge base of TNCs and established clusters, and that a developmental state can make a difference, particularly in a nation with a large and distinctive domestic market. In short, this book is essential reading for those seeking to understand the dynamics of and possibilities for industrial development in the former third world.
Eric Sheppard, University of California, Los Angeles

Most of the stories about China's technology industry are completely contradictory: China will either soon become a technology superpower or is unlikely to escape from its dependence on Western technology. By focusing on emerging Chinese companies and their interaction with multinational technology firms, Yu Zhou bridges these two competing views, bringing a much needed clarity to a rapidly changing market. Filled with the details that can only be gleaned from in-depth field work, The Inside Story of China's High-Tech Industry is a valuable contribution to the debate about China's technological future.
Adam Segal, Council on Foreign Relations