Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2014, Vol. 69 ›› Issue (10): 1449-1458.doi: 10.11821/dlxb201410005

• Orginal Article • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Research progress of economic geography in China

Zhigao LIU1(), Chen WANG2, Erling LI3, Tangwei TENG4   

  1. 1. Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
    2. Departments of Earth Sciences, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou 310027, China
    3. College of environment and planning, Henan University, Kaifeng 475001, Henan, China
    4. China Center of Modern City Studies, East China Normal University, Shanghai 200062, China
  • Received:2014-05-10 Revised:2014-07-20 Online:2014-10-20 Published:2014-10-20
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.41201116, No.41071096, No.41125005


Economic geography, as one of the most important branches of human geography, is a discipline of studying the space of economic activities. Entering the 21st century, economic geographers in various countries reviewed the developments of domestic economic geography, and forecasted the future research. China's economic geography has been driven by real-world questions, and practice-oriented studies, and is becoming internationalized. It is timely to reflect on achievements, the development processes and characteristics of China's economic geography, which is a precondition to further promote its development. After discussing academic function and social function of economic geography research, this article depicted the developments of economic geography research in China since 1994 from the terms of research teams, research focus and research directions, and revealed the basic drivers of the evolution of China's economic geography. The keywords co-occurrence analysis showed that China's economic geography research was problem-solving oriented, and promptly responded to the policy needs of the development of Chinese regions. The collaboration network of the most productive authors indicated that economic geography research and urban geography research have influenced and learned from each other, and several loosely linked research teams emerged. The analysis on the SSCI-listed economic geography articles written by overseas and indigenous scholars revealed that although the highly cited papers were dominated by overseas Chinese, indigenous scholars also made important contributions to theoretical development of this research field. Based on the quantitative analysis and expert consultation, the article summarized the development trends of the branches of China's economic geography research, including regional differences, industrial agglomeration, spatial link, location theory and industrial layout, transportation geography, producer services, functional zoning, typical area planning, energy and carbon emissions, international trade and FDI, information technology and the Internet. Finally, this paper strongly argued that four relations need to be properly handled in the future for the promotion of economic geography in China.

Key words: economic geography, China, discipline development, research progress, scientometrics

CLC Number: 

  • x0201d