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Regional Innovation Profiles: A Comparative Empirical Study of Four Chinese Regions Based on Expert Knowledge

  • Ingo Liefner EMAIL logo , Henning Kroll , Gang Zeng and Anna-Barbara Heindl


In emerging economies such as China, marked by profound regional disparities in terms of socio-economic wealth and technology, different regions use not only different levels of inputs into the innovation process, but also produce different outputs with qualitative diversity that is seldom sufficiently acknowledged. This paper uses structured expert interviews (AHP) to provide insights into the innovation profiles of four selected Chinese regions: Beijing, Shanghai, Chongqing and Kunming. It combines information on drivers of innovation as well as innovation characteristics and objectives to establish and compare regional innovation profiles.

Article Note

Ingo Liefner will handle all correspondence as the corresponding author: Tel. +49-511-762 4492, Fax: +49-511-762 3051, E-mail:


This paper’s findings build on the assessments provided by many experts whose contribution is gratefully acknowledged. The authors wish to thank Zou Lin, Su Can, Gao Minyu, Mi Zefeng and Zhu Yiwen of East China Normal University for organizing and carrying out the expert interviews. Stephan Pohl contributed the map of the case study regions. Comments and suggestions from anonymous reviewers are gratefully acknowledged.

Award Identifier / Grant number: Kr4895/2-1, Li981/15-1

Funding statement: This work was supported by the German Research Foundation under grant Kr4895/2-1 and Li981/15-1.


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Received: 2020-07-08
Accepted: 2021-06-24
Published Online: 2021-11-27
Published in Print: 2021-11-25

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