Journal of Geographical Sciences ›› 2020, Vol. 30 ›› Issue (11): 1781-1801.doi: 10.1007/s11442-020-1812-x

• Special Issue: Urbanization, Resources and Environment in Central Asia • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Characteristics of industrial structure evolution and isomorphism in Central Asia

KANG Lei1(), LIU Yi1,2   

  1. 1. Key Laboratory of Regional Sustainable Development Modeling, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
    2. College of Resources and Environment, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
  • Received:2020-03-17 Accepted:2020-07-31 Online:2020-11-25 Published:2021-01-25
  • About author:Kang Lei (1989–), PhD and Assistant Professor, specializing in economic geography and regional development. E-mail:
  • Supported by:
    Priority Research Program of the CAS(XDA20040400);National Natural Science Foundation of China(41801114)


This study undertakes a systematic examination of characteristics of the spatio-temporal evolution of industrial economies in Central Asia from the perspectives of industrial scale, structural rationality, industrial competitiveness, and industrial isomorphism. The results show that industrial structures in Central Asian countries are becoming increasingly advanced, with certain differences among them in the characteristics of this evolution. Kazakhstan has long had a tertiary-secondary-primary industrial pattern, and productive services have played an increasingly prominent role in the development of its tertiary industry. The transformation of the industrial structure in Uzbekistan, from a secondary-tertiary- primary pattern at its independence from the Soviet Union to a tertiary-secondary-primary pattern, is apparent. Tajikistan’s industrial structure has also changed significantly in recent times. Its secondary industries shrunk while tertiary industries developed rapidly. In Kyrgyzstan, the ratios of secondary and tertiary industries to total industrial output have fluctuated significantly while considerable progress has been made in the service sector. The industrial structure of Turkmenistan is significantly lower than the other countries, and Turkmenistan is the only country in the Central Asian region which still shows a tertiary-secondary-primary industrial pattern. The feasibility and competitiveness of the industrial structures of these five Central Asian countries have different characteristics. Kazakhstan has structural advantages but lags in competitiveness, Uzbekistan is driven by both structural and competitive advantages, Tajikistan enjoys structural advantages while Kyrgyzstan lags behind in competitiveness, and Turkmenistan has a competitiveness-driven economy. Furthermore, values of the similar coefficient index of the three industrial structures in these countries were mostly above 0.95, the coefficients of the secondary industrial subdivisions in some countries were below 0.85, and those of tertiary industrial subdivisions among most countries were above 0.89, indicating considerable similarities in industrial structure among them. These findings are important in the context of establishing an effective industrial development strategy for the Silk Road Economic Belt, improving international cooperation, and upgrading industrial structures to achieve economic prosperity.

Key words: industrial structure, evolution, industrial isomorphism, shift-share analysis, similar coefficient index, Central Asian countries