Observing regional divergence of Chinese nanotechnology centers

Yasuyuki Motoyama, Cong Cao, Richard Appelbaum

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


While China has emerged as one of the world's leading technological innovators, past studies have uncovered that technology centers have been overwhelmingly concentrated in Beijing and Shanghai. We take a step further to investigate whether this geographic concentration has persisted over time with nanotechnology-related patents. We apply the spatial analysis techniques and employ Gini's coefficient and global Moran's I. We additionally test the spatial patterns at four scales: the municipality, the county, the intra-metropolitan, and the distance-based.We find that while Beijing and Shanghai have remained the two dominant nanotechnology clusters, the Shanghai region, together with Jiangsu and Zhejiang, surpassed the traditionally productive Beijing-Tianjin region by 2007. We did not identify spatial autocorrelation at the province level, but at the county level, and at the scale between 20. km and 75. km. The intra-metropolitan analysis in Beijing and Shanghai further confirmed that the geographic concentration of nanotechnology is small, around 20. km. These results support the regional divergence theory and a small scale of technology diffusion, as well as the possibility of continually increasing inequality in China and its technology development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11-21
Number of pages11
JournalTechnological Forecasting and Social Change
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • China
  • Nanotechnology
  • Patents
  • Spatial analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Applied Psychology
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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