GEOGRAPHICAL RESEARCH ›› 2013, Vol. 32 ›› Issue (9): 1721-1736.doi: 10.11821/dlyj201309014

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Location and agglomeration of headquarters of public listed firms within China’s urban system

PAN Fenghua1, LIU Zuoli2, XIA Yabo1, MO Kaifeng1   

  1. 1. School of Geography, Institute of Urban and Regional Planning, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China;
    2. Beijing Municipal Institute for Economic and Social Development, Beijing 100120, China
  • Received:2012-06-10 Revised:2013-02-15 Online:2013-09-10 Published:2013-09-10

Abstract: Headquarters of large firms are the commanding centers of the economy. It is of particular interests to investigate the headquarters' distribution in China, a fast growing transition economy. However, little attention has been paid to the understanding of spatial pattern of headquarters of public companies, which dominates China's economy today. Using a comprehensive dataset of Chinese public listed firms, this paper seeks to find out the spatial pattern of public companies' headquarters and its evolution over time. First, headquarters of public listed firms are mostly located in the eastern China, especially in the Yangtze River Delta, Pearl River Delta and Beijing-Tianjin region. Second, headquarters of the public companies are inclined to be proximate to political centers at different geographical scales. Beijing, as the capital of China, houses most of the headquarters of public firms, and the provincial capital city usually accommodates the largest number of headquarters within its province. Third, Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen are the top three cities in terms of the number of public companies' headquarters as well as the scale of the firms. The three cities dominate the first three positions in almost all sectors in terms of the number of headquarters. As the capital of China, Beijing dominates and outperforms other cities. Fourth, headquarters of large firms in China are less agglomerated compared to those much developed countries and are becoming more agglomerated in the cities in coastal China. The number of headquarters in Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen is increasing faster compared with other smaller cities. Finally, the number of headquarters is highly correlated with the development of financial industry, airport volume, economic output, globalization, total population, and political level of the city

Key words: public listed firms, corporate headquarters, quarter economy, agglomeration, urban syste