Changing economic landscape of Northeast Asia
This research investigates the evolving landscape of economic geography in Northeast Asia. In particular, the first phase of the research, which is reported here, surveys the current status of eight core economic regions, examines their development prospects, and analyzes inter-regional relations among the regions. The results summarized here provide a basis for the second phase of the research, which will be carried out next year, focusing on strategic variables that will induce collaborative development among the core economic regions in Northeast Asia.
The eight regions selected for analysis in the research are: Zhujiang delta, Changjiang delta and Jing-Jin-Ji region of China, Kanto, Kinki and Chubu region of japan, and the Capital region and Yeongnam region of Korea. In terms of PPP(purchasing power parity) GDP, the Kanto region is closely followed by Changjiang delta. With some distance, follows Zhujiang delta. All the other regions are behind those three mega-regions.
The three Japanese economic regions have been leading the formation of economic landscape of Northeast and East Asia in the past three decades. Since the reform and opening of China in the 1980s, the economic landscape has changed. China’s economic regions have rapidly emerged and the industrial geography of Northeast Asia has changed from a unipolar structure to multipolar structure. This is evident in the results of locational analysis of industrial geography. The three Chines regions advanced successfully in manufacturing production, which resulted in the relative decline of the three Japanese regions. Even though the two Korean regions did not experience decline of manufacturing production, they are soon to face stiff competition from the emergence of China’s economic regions. The speed and scope of changes in the industrial geography of Northeast Asia will be further accelerated when the three countries conclude free trade agreements between either pair of the two or among the three under discussion.
In comparison, the geography of the service economy is still dominated by the three Japanese regions. The Kanto region, in particular, holds top position in major service activities. The other two Japanese regions and the two Korean regions post slight advantage in transport and communication services. China’s three regions, in spite of their structural changes, still lag behind Japanese and Korean regions in terms of service activities. In the financial services, the Kanto region of Japan and the Capital region of Korea exhibit strong agglomeration. In competition with these two regions is the Zhujiang delta including Hong Kong.
Industrial agglomerations and clusters
The profile of individual economic regions indicates a strong tendency of industrial agglomeration. In fact, the central and regional governments associated with the eight economic regions have been promoting industrial clusters. Individual regions, however, show slightly different emphases. For example, the Kanto region of Japan attempts to build a home for new industries utilizing its excellence in technology and innovation capacity. The Kinki region aims at establishing a bio-cluster and enverty-environment cluster using its agglomeration in the pharmaceutical and home appliances industries. The Chubu region, which has a strong base in the automobile industry, pursues an industrial transformation into high tech industries including robot, aero=space, and nano technology.
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