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Industrial Clusters as Drivers of Sustainable Regional Economic Development? An Analysis of an Automotive Cluster from the Perspective of Firms’ Role

Xiaofei Chen (), Enru Wang (), Changhong Miao (), Lili Ji () and Shaoqi Pan ()
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Xiaofei Chen: Key Research Institute of Yellow River Civilization and Sustainable Development & Collaborative Innovation Center on Yellow River Civilization of Henan Province, Henan University, Kaifeng 475001, China
Enru Wang: Key Research Institute of Yellow River Civilization and Sustainable Development & Collaborative Innovation Center on Yellow River Civilization of Henan Province, Henan University, Kaifeng 475001, China
Changhong Miao: Key Research Institute of Yellow River Civilization and Sustainable Development & Collaborative Innovation Center on Yellow River Civilization of Henan Province, Henan University, Kaifeng 475001, China
Lili Ji: School of Education, Henan University, Kaifeng 475001, China
Shaoqi Pan: The College of Environment and Planning, Henan University, Kaifeng 475001, China

Sustainability, 2020, vol. 12, issue 7, 1-22

Abstract: This paper examined the relationships among firms in a rapidly growing specialized industrial cluster—the Chery automotive cluster located in the Wuhu Economic and Technology Development in eastern China. After demonstrating how the Chery automotive cluster contributed to sustainable regional economic development, it focused on defining the roles that major firms play in the localized production network. Based on three attributes of the firm (network linkages, network position, and network power), the study identified a typology of firms’ role, including the dominant core, lead firms, gatekeepers, intermediaries, club of foreigners, peripherals, and loners. By revealing the heterogeneity of the firms and discussing the differing roles they play in the network, the paper made some policy recommendations to promote the sustainable development of the cluster, including providing policy supports to core firms, encouraging inter-firm networking and interaction, and diversifying the cohort of gatekeepers.

Keywords: industrial cluster; production network; sustainable regional development; firm’s role; automotive cluster; Chery; China (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: Q Q0 Q2 Q3 Q5 Q56 O13 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:gam:jsusta:v:12:y:2020:i:7:p:2848-:d:341001

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