Journal of Geographical Sciences ›› 2021, Vol. 31 ›› Issue (5): 664-680.doi: 10.1007/s11442-021-1864-6

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Variegated transnational partnerships: Multi-scalar actor networks in China’s overseas industrial parks

SONG Tao1,2(), SUN Man1,2, LIANG Yutian3,4,*(), Soavapa NGAMPRAMUAN5, WUZHATI Yeerken1,2, ZHOU Keyang3   

  1. 1. Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resource Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
    2. College of Resources and Environment, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100190, China
    3. School of Geography and Planning, Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou 510275, China
    4. Southern Marine Science and Engineering Guangdong Laboratory (Zhuhai), Zhuhai 519080, Guangdong, China
    5. Faculty of Political Science, Department of International Relations, Ramkhamhaeng University, Bangkok, Thailand
  • Received:2020-11-03 Accepted:2021-03-17 Online:2021-05-25 Published:2021-07-25
  • Contact: LIANG Yutian;
  • About author:Song Tao (1983-), PhD and Associate Professor, specialized in regional sustainable development and globalization. E-mail:
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China(41871114);National Natural Science Foundation of China(41701131);Strategic Priority Research Program of Chinese Academy of Sciences(XDA20010103);The Second Tibetan Plateau Scientific Expedition and Research Program (STEP)(2019QZKK1007);Fund from Bureau of International Cooperation, Chinese Academy of Sciences(131551KYSB20180042)


The development of overseas industrial parks is a key component of the Belt and Road Initiative and a practical way of promoting inclusive globalization by introducing new forms of cooperation between China and the host countries. In this paper, the Thai-Chinese Rayong Industrial Zone (TCRIZ), and the China-Indonesia Economic and Trade Cooperation Zone (KITIC) are discussed in the context of the evolving development strategies and trajectories through three interrelated conceptual lenses - policy mobility, actor networks, and partnerships. The actor-network theory provides a lens to analyze how policy mobility and partnerships develop for two industrial zone case studies. The development, which involves a multi-scalar process, is shaped by the interactions among the national states, the regional governments and corporations against a background of globalization. Three types of transnational actor partnership networks have been identified, namely, hierarchical partnership, spontaneous partnership, and hybrid partnership. A highlight of the study is the role that the partnerships play in the process of policy mobility when it comes to the overseas industrial zones. It is argued that the partnerships are the key to achieving technology transfer on a cross-national basis, and the effectiveness of the technology transfer is dependent on partner selection and the roles of the actors in policy mobility.

Key words: overseas industrial park, multi-scalar partnership, transnational policy transfer, Thai-Chinese Rayong Industrial Zone, China-Indonesia Economic and Trade Cooperation Zone, Belt and Road Initiative