Regional Business Associations in China: Changes and Continuities

  • Juanfeng Liu
  • Jianjun Zhang
Part of the International Political Economy Series book series (IPES)


This chapter compares different practices of business associations in two localities in China—Wuxi and Wenzhou—and examines the internal linkage between associational practices and patterns of economic development. In Wuxi, business associations are organized and run by government in a top-down approach, and serve as state corporatist instruments; while in Wenzhou, there emerged many grass-roots business associations initiated and governed by entrepreneurs from bottom-up, working for societal purposes. The distinctive associational practices in the two localities are linked with their local economic development patterns: government-led development in Wuxi versus entrepreneur-initiated development in Wenzhou. The chapter concludes that the growth of private entrepreneurship and the spread of market relations, together with the willingness of government to leave space to societal actors, are the primary conditions for autonomous, vibrant business associations to occur.


Wuxi Wenzhou State-business relations Business associations Local economic development 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Juanfeng Liu
    • 1
  • Jianjun Zhang
    • 2
  1. 1.School of International RelationsUniversity of International Business and EconomicsBeijingChina
  2. 2.Guanghua School of ManagementPeking UniversityBeijingChina

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