This paper analyses recent patterns and trends of technological development in Chinese provinces. It reflects on characteristic distinctions between these regions’ portfolios of technological activity as well as the local matches between scientific, technological and economic efforts within them. Building on both theoretical and country specific literature, it suggests that, in China, the internal structure of technological activities might play a lesser role for economic development than in established market economies while their external embeddedness could be more important. Based on a comprehensive dataset, it identifies characteristic profiles and pathways of development among China’s provinces. With a view to those, its findings suggest a continued relevance of existing legacies but, equally, newly emerging industrial dynamism. While related variety is now present in many leading regions, the local match between technological and economic activities remains the most relevant discriminator between already well-developed provinces and those catching up with the leading group.