Local state and high-tech development : evidence from the integrated circuits manufacturing industry in China since 2000

Date of Award




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Political Science

Content Description

1 online resource (ix, 247 pages) : color illustrations, map.

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Cheng Chen

Committee Members

Zsófia Barta, Gregory Nowell, Richard Lachmann


Integrated circuits industry, High technology industries, Technology and state, State-local relations

Subject Categories

Political Science


In the 2000s and 2010s, many sub-provincial governments in China made efforts to develop the IC manufacturing industry: some adopted the homegrown strategy (i.e. supporting domestic enterprises) while others implemented the import-oriented strategy (i.e. attracting foreign enterprises). This raises a question: Why did the same level local governments under the same national policy framework carry out different development strategies in high-tech industries? Answering the question can shed light on the role of state intervention in China’s quest to becoming a global technology leader and also help us understand political factors affecting indigenous technological innovation at the local level. The dissertation tries to explore this important question by examining eight Chinese localities’ IC manufacturing development record. It argues that under the decentralized fiscal system and relative-performance-based cadre evaluation system, local development strategy choices in the IC manufacturing industry were significantly shaped by two factors: 1) the size of the local chip market in the early 2000s which was affected by each locality’s industrialization strategy and 2) the type of support from the central government. In a long time period, sub-provincial governments in localities with a large local chip market (larger than the median size of the eight localities) were more likely to carry out the homegrown strategy as the local chip market could help domestic IC manufacturing enterprises survive at the early stage of development when local protectionism was prevalent. By contrast, sub-provincial governments in localities with a small local chip market (smaller than the median size of the eight localities) tended to adopt the import-oriented strategy since foreign advanced enterprises were able to overcome the disadvantage of a small local chip market and sustain themselves in the long run partly due to its enormous financial firepower and large market shares at the global level. Besides the local chip market, the central government’s support was also crucial. There were two types of support from the center: the “pro-homegrown support” and the “neutral support”. The “pro-homegrown support” was the central government’s support (e.g. investments, simplified approval procedures) exclusively for developing the domestic enterprises. The “neutral support” referred to the preferential treatment (e.g. larger subsidies , priority over other localities to get large domestic or foreign investments) given to certain regions’ localities to promote local development without a preference for supporting homegrown enterprises or foreign enterprises. The “pro-homegrown support” enabled local governments to execute the homegrown strategy in the high-end IC manufacturing industry while the “neutral support” gave some local governments an edge over others to attract foreign high-end IC manufacturing enterprise and implement the import-oriented strategy. This research has some implications. Firstly, it shows how China’s state intervention at the central and local level impacted high tech industries and provides some insights into the development approach with Chinese characteristics. This helps evaluate whether China offers a development model different from that of the West. Moreover, it points out the importance of the central government’s support and local industrialization strategies in empowering China to pursue global technological leadership and achieve sustainable growth.

This document is currently not available here.