The Pearl River Delta: An Emerging Silicon Valley


Governments, cities and regions the world-over have yearned to learn from Silicon Valley in the hope of transforming their own jurisdictions into regions that sustain innovativeness and propel economic development. While many have tried, almost all have failed. Recently, however, there has been good reason to believe that the Pearl River Delta (PRD), and more specifically the Hong Kong- Shenzhen-Dongguan axis in Guangdong Province may in fact be able to prove to be the one exception. Is the Pearl River Delta (PRD) region—traditionally known for its low-end, low-tech manufacturing prowess—evolving innovative capabilities that could make it comparable to Silicon Valley? This project investigates this broad question from two vantage points: descriptive quantitative information relating to traditional R&D input and output indicators—namely funding allocated to R&D, R&D personnel, and their training, as well as new products created and patents filed—and qualitative, in-depth case studies with business leaders, academics and government official to determine the existence of causal mechanisms and their relative importance.

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