Chongqing: Beyond the latecomer advantage

Jianming Cai, Zhenshan Yang, Douglas Webster, Tao Song, Andrew Gulbrandson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


The spectacular growth of Chinese cities since the 1980s is often theorised as reflecting the advantages of latecomer development (ALD). ALD has been more effective in cosmopolitan, globally accessible coastal cities than outer cities. As leading cities, like Shanghai, close the development gap, the potential for 'easy' ALD growth falls off rapidly. Because institution building is more difficult than firm-based growth, ALD strategies may generate rapid short-term economic growth but not sustainable development. Accordingly, Chongqing municipality, with a population of 33 million, in West China, is pursuing a beyond latecomer advantage model. This is characterised by: (i) reducing poverty and rural-urban disparity through accelerated urbanisation, rural-urban integration and emphasising human resource development; (ii) upgrading the value added of Chongqing's economy through targeting of FDI and incentives to local start-ups; (iii) endogenous development, reducing risks from external shocks; (iv) Hukou reform; (v) establishing a land use conversion certificate market to rationalise land use; (vi) emphasis on morality to address crime/corruption; (vii) recognition of the importance of amenity in attracting investment and talent; and (viii) establishing a longer developmental time perspective. This paper explores this Chongqing model in detail.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)38-55
Number of pages18
JournalAsia Pacific Viewpoint
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 2012


  • Chongqing
  • Institutional building
  • Latecomer development
  • Sustainable development
  • Urban development

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Development


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