Journal of Geographical Sciences ›› 2023, Vol. 33 ›› Issue (4): 705-718.doi: 10.1007/s11442-023-2102-1

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Combinatorial knowledge dynamics, innovative performance, and transition studies

XUE Shuaijun1(), LIU Chengliang2,3,4,*()   

  1. 1. Department of Geography, Kiel University, Kiel 24118, Germany
    2. School of Urban and Regional Sciences, East China Normal University, Shanghai 200241, China
    3. Institute for Global Innovation and Development, East China Normal University, Shanghai 200062, China
    4. Center of World Geography and Geo-strategical Studies, East China Normal University, Shanghai 200062, China
  • Received:2022-05-16 Accepted:2023-01-23 Online:2023-04-25 Published:2023-05-11
  • Contact: *Liu Chengliang, Professor, specialized in regional innovation. E-mail:
  • About author:Xue Shuaijun, PhD Candidate, specialized in knowledge base combination and innovation studies. E-mail:
  • Supported by:
    National Social Science Foundation of China(21ZDA011);China Scholarship Council(202008080097)


Cross-domain research and development has prevailed in regional transformation and disruptive innovation in the last 15 years. Recently, a new concept, termed combinatorial knowledge bases (CKBs), offers insights into combining knowledge dynamics and is considered a good approach to explore recombinant innovative activities. Here, we review the literature on CKBs in Western economic geography, and we introduce a research agenda for CKBs in China’s economic geography. Concerning the latter, four aspects are elaborated: the co-evolution of the innovation chain and industrial chain, the geography of innovative activities, innovative entrepreneurship and new path development, and innovation system reconfiguration. This paper contributes to theoretical studies of China’s geography by linking CKBs to Chinese-specific phenomena.

Key words: combinatorial knowledge bases, innovation, China’s transformation