Institutional construction and spatial governance of export-oriented zones from the perspective of state entrepreneurialism: a case study of pilot free trade zone in China


  • Qixuan Wang Tongji University
  • Jie Ren Tongji University


Free Trade Zone, State Entrepreneurialism, Institutional Construction, spatial governance, Planning Enlightenment




Export-oriented zone is a type of special economic region that are more broadly defined in the era of economic globalization. By establishing export-oriented zones, many developing countries participate in global industrial division of labor and initiated regional economic development through some policy measures such as foreign investment and market-oriented reforms, thereby promoting the improvement and innovation of macroeconomic institution. A large number of urban researchers have conducted research on export-oriented zones. Compared to the conceptual framework of urban entrepreneurialism in the context of neoliberalism, the construction of export-oriented zones in southern countries worldwide usually involves breaking through existing national the supervisory system of economic and foreign trade, requiring deep participation of the central government in policy supply and power decentralization, and possessing the characteristics of " planning centrality and market instruments" as described by the concept of state entrepreneurialism. Taking the pilot free trade zone (FTZ) established by China after the global financial crisis as the case study, this article explores the institutional improvement and spatial governance process of export-oriented zones under the leadership of state entrepreneurialism, and conducts an analysis of the Shanghai FTZ, which is the first FTZ established in 2013 in China. It is found that aims to comprehensively deepen reform and expand opening up to the outside world. At the beginning of the approval of the establishment of FTZs set up in different provinces, the central government has imposed restrictions on it from aspects such as strategic positioning and management mode, etc. At the same time, the FTZ in various regions have also formed a series of replicable experiences in practice within the original institutional framework, which are fed back to the central and provincial governments and then promoted to other regions. In terms of spatial governance, the FTZ achieves a more comprehensive form of opening-up through the integration of traditional development zones and the host cities. At the provincial level, the spatial scale of FTZ is constant, while the organization and management of internal sub-zones are relatively flexible. Based on the analysis, this paper discusses the key issues in the process of improving the FTZ system in China, and puts forward relevant planning enlightenment on the governance of the FTZ in combination with international advanced experience.

Author Biography

  • Jie Ren, Tongji University

    PhD applicant, College of Architecture and Urban Planning,Tongji University


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