Location Decisions and Network Configurations of Foreign Investment in Urban China


This article studies location decisions and network configurations of foreign direct investment (FDI) in Nanjing, the capital of Jiangsu Province, located in the northwest of the Yangtze River Delta (YRD). Built on the perspective that China's economic transition can be conceptualized as a triple process of globalization, marketization, and decentralization, this article outlines four structural changes of the Chinese economy that are underlying the location and networks of FDI: decentralization and the empowerment of local states, marketization and the increasing importance of places, globalization and the emergence of globalizing city regions, and urban spatial restructuring. The study has uncovered substantial intraurban differences within Nanjing and the significance of the Chinese state, location within the YRD, and intraurban context in the location decisions for FDI. We have also found that foreign ventures overwhelmingly serve as production facilities for either the Chinese or world markets, and maintain close production relations with other foreign firms in the YRD. Finally, regression models have identified the significance of national-level development zones, access to ports, and industrial land in the location of foreign ventures.


Geography, Geology, and Planning

Document Type





China, foreign direct investment, location decision, nation-state, production network

Publication Date


Journal Title

The Professional Geographer