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District internationalisation and trans-local development

Marco Bellandi and Annalisa Caloffi ()

Entrepreneurship & Regional Development, 2008, vol. 20, issue 6, 517-532

Abstract: The fast rise of ‘made in China’ in international markets has raised concern among industrial districts in Italy and elsewhere. The challenge comes from a rich variety of factors of development, including local entrepreneurial and public resources. Building on results of fieldwork research on specialised towns and industrial clusters in Guangdong (China), and on investigations of Italian industrial districts, we consider the classification, along various axes, of both the business reactions from agents of districts facing the challenge and their systemic outcomes in terms of local developmental capacities. In particular, delocalisation and relocalisation outcomes are distinguished. The latter offer positive collective prospects, and are related to district internationalisation strategies and actions, targeting localities and clusters which could develop district-like processes. These relations have a core represented by trans-local public goods. Long-term cluster-to-cluster investments in production and trade joint projects may arise together with and around such a core. They help the growth and variation of division of labour at a trans-local scale. Some general requirements and dynamic aspects in the governance of such public goods are suggested and discussed, with illustration from an Italian-Chinese case of trans-local and cluster-to-cluster strategies.

Date: 2008
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DOI: 10.1080/08985620802462108

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