Working Group Economic Geography

Project: The Evolution of Creative Industry Clusters (ECIC) - A Comparison of Cases in Germany and China


Principal Investigators:

Robert Hassink, Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel (CAU), Germany

Chun Yang, Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU), Hong Kong

Team members:

Huiwen Gong, Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel (CAU), Germany

Tianlan Fu, Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU), Hong Kong


Sponsored by Germany/Hong Kong Joint Research Scheme 2016/17

Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst – German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD)

Research Grants Council (RGC), Hong Kong



The creative economy is not only one of the most rapidly growing sectors of the world economy, but also a highly transformative one in terms of income generation, job creation and export earnings. One salient characteristic of creative industries is that they tend to concentrate geographically in so-called creative industry clusters, often in urban areas. Although there is ample literature on creative industries and individual creative industry clusters, three deficiencies can be identified. First, two theoretical foci have been under-represented in the economic geography literature on creative industry clusters, namely evolutionary economic geography and global production network. Secondly, there is hardly any literature on creative industry clusters which combines evolutionary and global production network perspectives. Thirdly, little cross-country and cross-industry comparative research has been done on creative industry clusters. The aim of this comparative research project is therefore to shed light on the evolution of creative industry clusters in two countries, Germany and China, and two industries, video game and film and television industry. It will focus on two pairs of clusters, the video game clusters in Hamburg and Shenzhen and the film and television clusters in Berlin and Hong Kong. We aim to find answers to three key questions: 1) How do the evolutionary paths of the creative industry clusters look like? 2) To what extent are these creative industry clusters embedded in global production networks and how has their position changed through time (upgrading vs. downgrading processes)? 3) Which smart policy strategies for boosting creative industry clusters can be derived from the cross-industry, cross-country and cross-regional comparison?