China’s New Development Strategies: Moving Up and Moving Abroad in Global Value Chains | Duke Kunshan University

China’s New Development Strategies: Moving Up and Moving Abroad in Global Value Chains

E.g., 06/16/2022
E.g., 06/16/2022
10/25 - 10/26
09:00 to 17:00
Water Pavilion

Introduction: Over the past several decades, China has experienced one of the fastest and most profound economic development surges in history. In the 1990s and 2000s, China became the export powerhouse of the world across a very diverse range of manufacturing industries, from labor-intensive consumer goods sectors like apparel, footwear, toys, sporting equipment and household appliances to more capital-intensive and technologically advanced industries like computers, smartphones, automotive products and shipbuilding. China is the world’s largest export economy, ahead of the United States and Germany, and the second biggest economy, after the United States. In the process, China also dramatically reduced its poverty levels and has improved domestic infrastructure, health and education affecting hundreds of millions of its citizens.

Following the global economic recession of 2008-09, China’s export growth model began to sputter amid slowdowns in the advanced industrial economies of North America and Europe, which were China’s main export markets. China reset its development agenda by launching two ambitious new strategies:  Made in China 2025 and the Belt-Road Initiative (BRI).  Made in China 2025 promoted China’s “race to the top” as a global leader in the new digital economy, associated with Industry 4.0 technologies such as artificial intelligence, automation, cloud computing, and advanced information-technology (IT) hardware and services. The Belt-Road Initiative looks outward rather than inward for international competitive advantages. It channels a massive outflow of Chinese foreign direct investment (estimated at over one trillion U.S. dollars) to infrastructure projects involving railroads, highways and ports with 65 mainly developing economies in surrounding Asian regions that link China to main markets in Europe as well as Sub-Saharan African economies that are major sources of mineral and agricultural exports to China and budding export markets for Chinese goods and services.

This conference, organized by Gary Gereffi, Penny Bamber and Karina Fernandez-Stark will explore the implications of China’s efforts to “move up” and “move out” in the global economy, viewed from the perspective of the Global Value Chains (GVC) paradigm. Placing China’s current development push within a GVC context allows us to more fully understand both the challenges and the opportunities that lie ahead. This conference brings together leading international and China-based researchers who work on GVCs and development, along with Duke University and DKU faculty who are interested in more fully exploring the applicability of the GVC approach to their own work.

The key objectives of the conference are to:  (1) foster a growing network of scholars in China who are exploring the intersection of GVCs, digital economy and BRI issues; (2) strengthen links between DKU, UIBE and other universities in China and elsewhere working on these issues; and (3) promote research on Kunshan and nearby regions. We plan to publish a volume of conference papers to be edited by the conference organizers (Gereffi, Bamber and Fernandez-Stark).

Organizer: Gary Gereffi, Founding Director of Duke Global Value Chains Center,

Co-organizers: Penny Bamber & Karina Fernandez-Stark, Senior Researchers formerly affiliated with the Duke GVC Center, UIBE Foreign Expert Grant


Conference Agenda

Friday, October, 25, 2019



8:30 - 9:00

Registration and Networking

9:00 - 9:30

Welcome Remarks

  • Gary Gereffi, Duke University Global Value Chains Center and UIBE Foreign Expert Grant
  • Penny Bamber, Global Value Chain Network, UIBE Foreign Expert Grant
  • Karina Fernandez-Stark, Global Value Chain Network, UIBE Foreign Expert Grant

9:30- 11:45

Industry 4.0 and Automation

Moderator: Gary Gereffi (Duke University)

  • Boy Luethje, Sun Yat Sen University, Institute of Social Research, Frankfurt, Germany, “Made in China 2025: A Rexamination”
  • Florian Butollo, Weizenbaum-Institute, Germany, “From Technology Transfer to Bottom-up Innovation? A Value Chain Perspective on Artificial Intelligence and the Platform Economy”
  • Penny Bamber, Global Value Chain Network; Karina Fernandez-Stark, Global Value Chain Network, “Digitalization of Industrial Equipment: New Opportunities for Value Creation”
  • Zhao Wei, Sun Yat Sen University & ESSCA School of Management, “Industrial Upgrading from Below: Can Chinese Local Manufacturing Firms Reconfigure GVCs?

12:00 - 13:30

Lunch Break DKU Casino

13:30 - 15:00

Sectoral Experiences in the Pearl River Delta

Moderator: Prof. Yu Wang (Sociology Department, DKU)

  • Nellie CHU, Duke Kunshan University, “Rhythms of Anticipation: The Jiagongchang Household Factory in the Urban Villages of Guangzhou”
  • Lulu FAN, South China University of Technology “Production Organization and Labor Relations of China's Garment Industry under the Influence of Platform Economy”
  • Jing ZHAO, UIBE, Research Institute on Global Value Chains, “Shenzhen OECD Study”


Coffee Break

15:30 – 17:00

Kunshan’s Upgrading in GVCs: Upward and Outward

Moderator: Yu Liang (DKU)

  • Lixia Mei, Zhongnan University of Economics and Law, “Small City, Big Wisdom: Urban Transformation and Industrial Upgrading Strategies for Kunshan in the Changing Globalization Era”
  • Gary Gereffi, Duke University, “Industrial Evolution Beyond Technological Relatedness: GVC Analysis of a Manufacturing Industry in Kunshan, China” (with Cassandra C. Wang, Zhejiang University)
  • Jackson Ewing, Duke University, “China’s Energy Sector Goes Abroad”


Private Sector Experience: Upgrading in Kunshan

Introductions: Gary Gereffi (Duke University)

  • President Song Zhenghuan, Founder and Chairman, Goodbaby


Transfer to Crown Plaza Kunshan from DKU


Dinner at Crown Plaza Hotel hosted by organizers


Saturday, October 26, 2019



8:30 - 9:00

Transfer to DKU from Crown Plaza Kunshan


Moderator: Penny Bamber

SMEs in China’s Development

  • Ying Qiu, Jiangxi University of Finance and Economics, “Mechanisms for Promoting Value Chain Upgrading of Chinese SMEs in the Digital Economy”


9:30 – 10:15

Global Value Chains and the Environment

Chair and Moderator, Junjie Zhang (DKU)

  • Kathinka Furst, Duke Kunshan University “Think Local, Act Global!: Chinese environmental NGOs Utilization of International Market Forces as Leverage to Influence Domestic Enterprises.”
  • Erik Myxter-iino, Duke University “Exporting Industrial Zone Management Along the Belt and Road: A Case Study of Kunshan Development Zone’s SEZ Managerial Training in Ethiopia”



Coffee Break


External Factors Influencing China’s Upgrading

Moderator: Karina Fernandez-Stark (Global Value Chain Network)

  • Michael Murphree, Moore School of Business, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC, USA “Taiwanese FDI Influence on Chinese upgrading”
  • Joonkoo Lee, Hanyang University, Seoul, South Korea “Changing Electronics Trade and Production Networks in Asia: Lessons from a Global Value Chain Approach”


Closing Comments & Next Steps:

  • 2020 Publication – Gereffi, Bamber & Fernandez-Stark (co-editors)


Lunch in Executive Dining Room


Visit to GoodBaby, Kunshan (Leading global firm in baby and child products and accessories, including durable products such as car seats and strollers, and non-durables such as diapers and wipes).