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Agglomeration effect and trans-regional flow of factors for innovation in China


By Shi Guang and Ma Mingjie, Mid-long-term growth research group, Development Research Center of the State Council (DRC)

Research report No 74, 2014 (Total No 4573)


China's factors for innovation have increasingly gathered together over the past 20 years. In 2010, 35 percent of universities, 40 percent of scientific research institutes, 50 percent of researchers, 60 percent of research funds, 70 percent of patents and high-tech enterprises, and 75 percent of technological transactions agglomerated in only 20 percent of provinces in China.

There was nearly no change in narrowing the gap in different regions concerning innovative factors, but the gap of output brought by innovation has been widening in regions.

The agglomeration of innovative factors has caught up with economic agglomeration.

 The trans-provincial flow of innovative factors has been accelerating since 2000, with major increases in regions such as Beijing, Guangdong and Jiangsu provinces. The flow of innovative factors is speeding up, and the gap in advantages of innovative factors among regions is widening. The fact that several major innovation-intensive regions coexist may last for a long time, and they will face even fiercer competition for innovative factors. In addition, China's innovative input and output are not even, so the government should comply with the laws of innovation and prevent resource allocation from being distorted by administrative means.