Regional Innovation Policy Experiments in China: Should City E-Hailing Measures be Generalized?

HKUST IEMS Thought Leadership Briefs No. 42

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Naubahar Sharif

China’s regionally decentralized innovation system and policy experiments are misunderstood by many who posit a top-down, homogeneous system rather than a large, multilayered system that features interaction between central government and mid-level entities and affords considerable autonomy to city and regional policymakers. A case study of four Chinese cities shows that measures designed to regulate the business e-hailing have not been generalized across all regions/cities in China, but instead reflect conditions and factors that are specific to each of the cities. E-hailing measures adopted by the four cities differ from one another and in some cases conflict with city development policies or the central government’s own guidelines. Innovation policies should be implemented at the regional/city level to ensure adoption of the right policy solutions for particular contexts.

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