GEOGRAPHICAL RESEARCH ›› 2015, Vol. 34 ›› Issue (9): 1697-1707.doi: 10.11821/dlyj201509008

• Orginal Article • Previous Articles     Next Articles

The evolutionary paths of new emerging industry in cities: A case study of the Internet of things industry in the Yangtze River Delta region

Mingfeng WANG(), Houxue XI   

  1. Center for Modern Chinese City Studies, East China Normal University, Shanghai 200062, China
  • Received:2015-03-08 Revised:2015-06-25 Online:2015-09-15 Published:2015-09-15


The geography of innovation and the regional development have attracted considerable scholarly attention, especially the spatial evolution processes of new technologies, enterprises, and industries. The development of a particular industry varies across locations, and more work is needed to study an emerging industry from a geographical perspective. The evolutionary economic geography provides effective theoretical tools for the analysis of the spatial evolution of industries and contributes to a better cognition of the mechanism for the evolution of economic landscapes. A significant agglomeration has been found in the Internet of things (IoT) industry in the following locations: Yangtze River Delta region, Pearl River Delta region, Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei (Bohai Rim) region, and some developed cities in the central and western regions of China. As the origin of the IoT industry, the Yangtze River Delta region has a full-fledged industry chain. Based on the path dependence theory, this paper explores the local differences of the emergence and evolution of the IoT industry in four cities of the Yangtze River Delta region: Wuxi, Shanghai, Nanjing, and Hangzhou. In Wuxi, occasional opportunity and local government are the significant determinants, while the development of IoT industry in Shanghai is driven by the industrial base and innovative institutional environment. For Nanjing and Hangzhou, the interactions between the fundamental conditions of industry and the state policies are the major impetuses. In conclusion, technological base, government policy, and occasional opportunity are the main drivers in the initial stage of emerging industry in China.

Key words: new emerging industry, path dependence, path creation, IoT industry, the Yangtze River Delta region