Innovation and Development in China and the Pearl River Delta

Published on: 2017-04-05


HKUST LAPP Distinguished Lecture Series

Co-organized by HKUST Institute for Emerging Market Studies (IEMS)


Mainland China has long (since opening up in 1979) envisioned creating an economy driven by indigenous innovation. Its experience of huge economic growth until recently has been erected on a variety of advantages: low skilled but boundless labor; opening up the economy to imports and exports; and, successfully applying imitation innovation. Despite these advantages and huge success in creating one of the largest economies in the world, the rate of growth began to slow as the 2008 global recession unfolded. Without a strong ability to self-innovate China concluded that it would not be able to sustain strong economic growth and desired societal outcomes. In the past few years there are signs that some parts of China are having some success at indigenous innovation. The evidence of this appears to be concentrated in two geographic clusters: the Shanghai region; and, the Pearl River Delta. The presentation discusses the emergence of self-innovation capacity in several innovation centers in Guangdong Province’s Lower Pearl River and how China managed its advantages while at the same time driving development through the development stages faster than any other country in the world. Achieving indigenous innovation at a high level is essential to the continued economic growth of China.

About the Speaker

Dr Roger R Stough’s research specializations include innovation and entrepreneurship, leadership in regional economic development, economic modeling and transport analysis. He has been involved in development related research in China, Korea, India, Pakistan, Turkey and Europe. He published several hundred scholarly and professional works, 45 books (including edited volumes); with sponsored research of more than $80 million. He has supervised and participated on numerous Ph.D. dissertation committees. His students hold various university, government, think tank and corporate positions including some presidents of their organizations.

Dr. Stough served as President of the Regional Science Association International (RSAI) (2007-2008) and as co-editor-in-chief of the Annals of Regional Science (ARS) 1994-2011; President of the Technopolicy Network (TPN) (2002-2013).

Dr. Stough holds a BS in International Trade, Ohio State University; a MA in Economic Geography, University of South Carolina; and, a Ph.D. in Geography and Environmental Engineering, Johns Hopkins University. He holds an Honorary Doctor of Philosophy degree from Jonkoping University (Sweden).

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Guangzhou night by wallace_Lan / Flickr. CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

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