Events as Spaces for Upgrading: Automotive Events in Shanghai
34 Pages Posted: 11 Sep 2014 Last revised: 15 Aug 2015
Date Written: September 11, 2014
This study contributes to the literature dealing with upgrading of the Chinese automotive industry by analysing the role of events in the upgrading process. By combining literature on temporary clusters with that of knowledge sourcing and upgrading, we investigate how firms use events for upgrading. To do so, we systematically analyse a number of upgrading mechanisms. Moreover we analyse how event organisers can influence these mechanisms, and identify a number of barriers that may hinder the process of upgrading during events. Our empirical study of two automotive events in Shanghai reveals that firms use events particularly for monitoring, to access global buzz, and for the development of new global pipelines. Mobility turned to be less relevant. Event organisers act as ‘temporary cluster managers’, and influence upgrading via three types of policies: content policy, matchmaking policy and access policy. Identified barriers include defensive strategies of exhibitors, a focus on trade, and the large size of the show. These barriers hinder monitoring and access to global buzz and pipelines in particular.
Keywords: Temporary clusters, upgrading, automotive events, Shanghai
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