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City Branding in China’s Northeastern Region: How Do Cities Reposition Themselves When Facing Industrial Decline and Ecological Modernization?

1
School of Management, Management Science and Engineering, Harbin Institute of Technology, Harbin 150001, China
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Faculty of Technology, Policy & Management, Delft University of Technology, 2628 CD Delft, The Netherlands
3
School of International Relations and Public Affairs, Fudan University, Shanghai 200433, China
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Erasmus School of Law, Erasmus University Rotterdam, 3062 PA Rotterdam, The Netherlands
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2018, 10(1), 102; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10010102
Received: 14 December 2017 / Revised: 27 December 2017 / Accepted: 30 December 2017 / Published: 4 January 2018
The past decade has seen a surge in the use of city branding, which is used to attract specific target groups of investors, high-tech green firms and talented workforce and reflects a desired shift from old, polluting manufacturing industries to new, clean service industries. Previous studies in the Chinese mega-city regions Pearl River Delta, Yangtze River Delta and Jing-Jin-Ji (region around Beijing and Tianjin) have shown that branding practices of primarily service and innovation oriented cities are largely in line with existing industrial profiles while those which are predominantly manufacturing oriented wish to present themselves as more service and innovation driven. In this contribution, city branding practices are studied in China’s three Northeastern provinces Heilongjiang, Jilin and Liaoning which face structural decline because of the presence of many outdated resource-based and heavy industries. The gap between existing profile and branding choices appears not systematic as in China’s leading economic regions. Northeastern cities focus more on combining primary, secondary and tertiary industrial patterns than on displacing manufacturing with services. The tertiary sector in these provinces is more administrative and public sector oriented and generates lower value added; it is therefore not significantly more attractive than the primary and secondary ones. View Full-Text
Keywords: city branding; city label; city brand identity; developmental pathways; ecological modernization; North East China city branding; city label; city brand identity; developmental pathways; ecological modernization; North East China
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Han, M.; De Jong, M.; Cui, Z.; Xu, L.; Lu, H.; Sun, B. City Branding in China’s Northeastern Region: How Do Cities Reposition Themselves When Facing Industrial Decline and Ecological Modernization? Sustainability 2018, 10, 102.

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