Chinese Geographical Science

, Volume 28, Issue 2, pp 231–246 | Cite as

City Networks of Online Commodity Services in China: Empirical Analysis of Tmall Clothing and Electronic Retailers

  • Guangliang Xi
  • Feng Zhen
  • Jinliao He
  • Yanhao Gong


City networks have been a critical topic in the fields of urban geography and regional economics. Numerous studies have explored city networks, focusing mainly on infrastructure and industrial networks. Unlike traditional urban network of which the major measuring indexes are population sizes and entity industries, online commodity service networks could reflect well the influencing of emerging economies, especially the Internet economy, on city networks. This study analyzes and reveals structural features of China’s city networks through online commodity services, providing the internet economic approach on city networks. Results indicate that the core cities of online commodity service networks are mainly concentrated in eastern coastal areas. In addition, spatial polarization and layer structure of network connections are obvious, descending from the centers in eastern China to peripheral cities in central and western China. Online commodity services of different cities show apparent differences and uncertainties in terms of specialization rates of international connection, which presents a tendency toward diversification. Online commodity service networks are not only associated with goods production, supply, and consumption in physical space but also reflect virtual information, capital, and technology flows, thus providing a new empirical approach for understanding city networks in information and internet economic age.


city networks online commodity services intercity relationships specialization 


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Copyright information

© Science Press, Northeast Institute of Geography and Agricultural Ecology, CAS and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Guangliang Xi
    • 1
  • Feng Zhen
    • 1
  • Jinliao He
    • 2
  • Yanhao Gong
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Architecture and Urban PlanningNanjing UniversityNanjingChina
  2. 2.School of Geographic and Oceanographic ScienceNanjing UniversityNanjingChina

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