Institutions, Governance and China’s Mobile Game Industry

Zhu

Institutions, Chain Governance and the Predicament of Local Upgrading: A Case Study of Hangzhou’s Mobile Game Industry” (DOI: 10.1080/00472336.2021.1964034) is a new article by Shengjun Zhu of the College of Urban and Environmental Sciences and MOE Key Laboratory of Earth Surface Processes, Peking University, China, Xiaohui Hu of the School of Geography, Nanjing Normal University and Jiangsu Center for Collaborative Innovation in Geographical Information Resource Development and Application, China, and Robert Hassink of the Department of Geography, Kiel University, Germany.

Hu

The abstract for the paper states:

This article focuses on one of China’s emerging creative clusters – Hangzhou’s mobile game industry – and investigates the various adaptations this cluster has undergone, as well as the mechanisms underlying the industrial and geographical dynamics within the cluster.

Hassink

Specifically, it examines the power asymmetry of governance in the cluster, paying attention to how chain governance has been shaped by both local and national institutional contexts, affecting local firms’ upgrading prospects and trajectories of industrial development. It is argued that China’s peculiar institutions have shifted the power asymmetry in the mobile game chain in favour of game distributors, allowing them to grab more value than their counterparts in the USA and European Union do. Despite various adaptation efforts made by small developers, they are largely constrained by lead firms with little possibility to move up the chain, which will inhibit further transformation and competitiveness of the industry.

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