Exporting the Silicon Valley to China

Gianluigi Negro 1 * , Jing Wu 2

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This article focuses on the history of Zhongguancun as one of the most important area used by the official Chinese narrative to promote the historical shift from the “made in China” model to the “created in China” one. We reconfigure this process through three historical phases that reflect the engagement of policymakers, business and high-tech agents in the creation of a specific social imaginary. Based on a textual analysis as well as on political and sectorial sources, this historical study argues that Zhongguancun carries a set of cultural values influenced by the Silicon Valley experience, however it still fails to achieve success in terms of creation and innovation. In detail, our article highlights three findings: Zhongguacun satisfied the conditions of creative area only during its first stage, when local industries had to adapt its services and products to the Chinese language and culture. Second, Zhongguancun shared with the Silicon Valley neoliberalists issues such as those related to the risk of a real estate bubble burst. Third, although Chinese documents show that Zhongguancun has not the same creativity outputs compared to the Silcon Valley, it shares with California its financial dynamics mainly driven by huge investments in innovation places like innovation cafes.


Zhongguancun Silicon Valley Chinese ITC history media history


This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Article Type: Research Article


Online Journal of Communication and Media Technologies, Volume 10, Issue 3, July 2020, Article No: e202016

Published Online: 22 Apr 2020

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