The past decade has seen a surge in the use of city branding, which is used to attract specific target groups of investors, high-tech green firms and talented workforce and reflects a desired shift from old, polluting manufacturing industries to new, clean service industries. Previous studies in the Chinese mega-city regions Pearl River Delta, Yangtze River Delta and Jing-Jin-Ji (region around Beijing and Tianjin) have shown that branding practices of primarily service and innovation oriented cities are largely in line with existing industrial profiles while those which are predominantly manufacturing oriented wish to present themselves as more service and innovation driven. In this contribution, city branding practices are studied in China's three Northeastern provinces Heilongjiang, Jilin and Liaoning which face structural decline because of the presence of many outdated resource-based and heavy industries. The gap between existing profile and branding choices appears not systematic as in China's leading economic regions. Northeastern cities focus more on combining primary, secondary and tertiary industrial patterns than on displacing manufacturing with services. The tertiary sector in these provinces is more administrative and public sector oriented and generates lower value added; it is therefore not significantly more attractive than the primary and secondary ones.

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Sustainability (Switzerland)
Erasmus School of Law

Han, M. (Meiling), de Jong, M., Cui, Z. (Zhuqing), Xu, L. (Limin), Lu, H., & Sun, B. (Baiqing). (2018). City branding in China's Northeastern region. Sustainability (Switzerland), 10(1). doi:10.3390/su10010102