Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2013, Vol. 68 ›› Issue (4): 449-463.doi: 10.11821/xb201304002

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The relocation of headquarters of public listed firms in China:A regional perspective study

PAN Fenghua1, XIA Yabo1, LIU Zuoli2   

  1. 1. School of Geography, Institute of Urban and Regional Planning, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China;
    2. Beijing Municipal Institute for Economic and Social Development, Beijing 100120, China
  • Received:2012-08-20 Revised:2013-02-21 Online:2013-04-20 Published:2013-04-20
  • Supported by:

    Key Laboratory of Regional Sustainable Development Modeling, IGSNRR, CAS; National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.41200396; the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities

Abstract: The location and relocation of headquarters have significant impacts on urban and regional development in the long term, which has been largely neglected in China for various reasons. Drawing on the latest data of public listed firms from 2001 to 2012 in China, this study investigates the relocation of headquarters as well as registered addresses of those listed firms from 2001 to 2012. The main findings of this study are as follows: (1) Firms mainly relocate the headquarters and registered addresses to eastern China, especially to Yangtze River Delta and Beijing, and the western and northeastern parts of China have the largest net loss of firms. (2) Most cases are upward relocations, which mean that they tend to be relocated in cities with higher political level. Beijing and Shanghai are the most attractive destination cities for inter-province relocations. For those relocations within provinces, firms are more likely to move to the capital cities. (3) According to the relocation pattern of both headquarters and registered addresses of firms, and the separation of headquarters and registered address for some firms, Beijing and Shanghai have become more dominant in the overall corporate geography in China. Beijing is extraordinarily influential and attracts the most relocated firms. (4) Most relocations are caused by merger and acquisition, which explains half of the relocation cases of headquarters and over 70% of the registered addresses. (5) There exist significant variations of relocation frequencies and rates among different industries. In general, firms of service industry are more likely to be relocated than those of manufacturing industry. Firms of mining and real estate industry have the highest relocation rates. (6) The operating performance is not necessarily improved after the relocation of headquarters. The performance improvement is quite weak and lasts only a very short time. Moreover, the upward relocation does not benefit firms more compared to downward or parallel relocation.

Key words: corporate relocation, public listed firms, corporate headquarter, headquarter economy, registered address