Journal of Geographical Sciences ›› 2020, Vol. 30 ›› Issue (8): 1266-1282.doi: 10.1007/s11442-020-1781-0

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A comparison and case analysis between domestic and overseas industrial parks of China since the Belt and Road Initiative

YE Chao(), LI Simeng, ZHANG Zhao*(), ZHU Xiaodan   

  1. Key Laboratory of Geographic Information Science (Ministry of Education), School of Geographic Sciences, East China Normal University, Shanghai 200241, China
  • Received:2020-01-16 Accepted:2020-04-30 Online:2020-08-25 Published:2020-10-25
  • Contact: ZHANG Zhao
  • About author:Ye Chao (1978–), PhD and Professor, specialized in urbanization and urban-rural relations, sustainable science and environmental governance, geographical thought and cultural geography. E-mail:
  • Supported by:
    Major Program of National Social Science Foundation of China(19ZDA086)


With rapid globalization, industrial parks are playing an increasingly important role in the national and regional development. Since the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) was put forward, national-level overseas industrial parks of China have emerged with new development features and trends. It is of great importance to carry out a comparative study on domestic and overseas industrial parks of China. Based on the perspective of spatiotemporal evolution, this paper compares and analyzes national-level overseas industrial parks along the Belt and Road (B&R) and domestic industrial parks of China. In time, China’s industrial parks have experienced four stages with distinctive state-led characteristic. There are different development paths and modes for overseas industrial parks along the B&R and domestic industrial parks. In space, the national-level overseas industrial parks are invested and constructed by Chinese enterprises (mostly from the coastal developed cities), and mainly distributed in the countries along the B&R. Through typical cases comparison of Thai-Chinese Rayong Industrial Zone and Tianjin Economic-Technological Development Area, the paper finds that national-level overseas industrial parks are basically market-driven and concentrated in traditional advantageous industries, while domestic industrial parks are mainly government-led high-tech industries. Localization of overseas industrial parks and remote coupling with domestic industrial parks become very important.

Key words: Belt and Road, development zone, overseas industrial park, China, comparative study