Entrepreneurial ecosystem versus regional innovation system: Conceptualization and application to Chinese cities

Haifeng Qian, Wenying Fu

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


This chapter addresses the lack of direct comparisons between entrepreneurial ecosystems (EEs) and regional innovation systems (RISs) in the literature. Both of these systems approaches highlight a favourable regional environment for business growth but they have rarely been juxtaposed by EE scholars. We first review the EE and RIS conceptual frameworks through a comparative lens and summarize their distinguishable elements. As an application of the conceptual distinctions between EEs and RISs, we examine whether the top twenty-five most innovative Chinese cities are EE-driven or RIS-driven. Using the density and performance of high-tech start-up and incumbent firms as system outcomes, we identify four types of Chinese cities: (1) strong EE and strong RIS; (2) strong EE but weak RIS; (3) weak EE but strong RIS; and (4) weak EE and weak RIS. Lastly, we conduct an in-depth case study on three distinct Chinese cities: Shenzhen (an example of strong EE and strong RIS); Shanghai (an example of strong EE and weak RIS); and Dongguan (an example of weak EE and strong RIS). We analyse the EE/RIS input factors that may drive their distinct EE versus RIS outcome patterns.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEntrepreneurial Ecosystems in Cities and Regions
Subtitle of host publicationEmergence, Evolution, and Future
EditorsRobert Huggins, Fumi Kitagawa, Daniel Prokop, Christina Theodoraki, Piers Thompson
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9780191957055
ISBN (Print)9780192866264
Publication statusPublished - 14 Mar 2024

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