Exploring regional innovation ecosystems: an empirical study in China

Ke Rong, Y. Lin, J. Yu, Y. Zhang, A. Radziwon

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This paper explores the regional innovation ecosystem (RIE) in an effort to fully understand its static and dynamic nature. We investigate how organisations coevolve within an ecosystem and how it affects their ecosystems. Based on a longitudinal, qualitative in-depth case study analysis of the three most representative Chinese RIEs, we empirically explore and validate a 4C framework. The framework includes construct, cooperation, configuration and capability and offers insights into 1) a better redistribution of roles and coordination of ecosystem resources, 2) delivering a better understanding of the dynamic and co-evolution nature of ecosystem development and 3) inspiring the practitioners to further explore their complementary partners. The key findings suggest importance of within- and inter-RIE complementarity-based collaboration, which – with appropriate and well-informed governmental support – can significantly boost the national innovation system.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)545-569
Number of pages25
JournalIndustry and Innovation
Issue number5
Early online date26 Oct 2020
Publication statusPublished - 28 May 2021


  • 4C framework
  • China
  • case study
  • co-evolution
  • regional innovation ecosystem


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