Introduction: Over the past several decades, China has experienced one of the fastest and most profound economic development surges in history. In the 1990s and 2000s, China became the export powerhouse of the world across a very diverse range of manufacturing industries, from labor-intensive consumer goods sectors like apparel, footwear, toys, sporting equipment and household appliances to more capital-intensive and technologically advanced industries like computers, smartphones, automotive products and shipbuilding. China is the world’s largest export economy, ahead of the United States and Germany, and the second biggest economy, after the United States. In the process, China also dramatically reduced its poverty levels and has improved domestic infrastructure, health and education affecting hundreds of millions of its citizens.
Following the global economic recession of 2008-09, China’s export growth model began to sputter amid slowdowns in the advanced industrial economies of North America and Europe, which were China’s main export markets. China reset its development agenda by launching two ambitious new strategies: Made in China 2025 and the Belt-Road Initiative (BRI). Made in China 2025 promoted China’s “race to the top” as a global leader in the new digital economy, associated with Industry 4.0 technologies such as artificial intelligence, automation, cloud computing, and advanced information-technology (IT) hardware and services. The Belt-Road Initiative looks outward rather than inward for international competitive advantages. It channels a massive outflow of Chinese foreign direct investment (estimated at over one trillion U.S. dollars) to infrastructure projects involving railroads, highways and ports with 65 mainly developing economies in surrounding Asian regions that link China to main markets in Europe as well as Sub-Saharan African economies that are major sources of mineral and agricultural exports to China and budding export markets for Chinese goods and services.
This conference, organized by Gary Gereffi, Penny Bamber and Karina Fernandez-Stark will explore the implications of China’s efforts to “move up” and “move out” in the global economy, viewed from the perspective of the Global Value Chains (GVC) paradigm. Placing China’s current development push within a GVC context allows us to more fully understand both the challenges and the opportunities that lie ahead. This conference brings together leading international and China-based researchers who work on GVCs and development, along with Duke University and DKU faculty who are interested in more fully exploring the applicability of the GVC approach to their own work.
The key objectives of the conference are to: (1) foster a growing network of scholars in China who are exploring the intersection of GVCs, digital economy and BRI issues; (2) strengthen links between DKU, UIBE and other universities in China and elsewhere working on these issues; and (3) promote research on Kunshan and nearby regions. We plan to publish a volume of conference papers to be edited by the conference organizers (Gereffi, Bamber and Fernandez-Stark).
Organizer: Gary Gereffi, Founding Director of Duke Global Value Chains Center, www.gvcc.duke.edu.
Co-organizers: Penny Bamber & Karina Fernandez-Stark, Senior Researchers formerly affiliated with the Duke GVC Center, UIBE Foreign Expert Grant
Friday, October, 25, 2019
8:30 - 9:00
Registration and Networking
9:00 - 9:30
Industry 4.0 and Automation
Moderator: Gary Gereffi (Duke University)
12:00 - 13:30
Lunch Break DKU Casino
13:30 - 15:00
Sectoral Experiences in the Pearl River Delta
Moderator: Prof. Yu Wang (Sociology Department, DKU)
15:30 – 17:00
Kunshan’s Upgrading in GVCs: Upward and Outward
Moderator: Yu Liang (DKU)
Private Sector Experience: Upgrading in Kunshan
Introductions: Gary Gereffi (Duke University)
Transfer to Crown Plaza Kunshan from DKU
Dinner at Crown Plaza Hotel hosted by organizers
Saturday, October 26, 2019
8:30 - 9:00
Transfer to DKU from Crown Plaza Kunshan
Moderator: Penny Bamber
SMEs in China’s Development
9:30 – 10:15
Global Value Chains and the Environment
Chair and Moderator, Junjie Zhang (DKU)
External Factors Influencing China’s Upgrading
Moderator: Karina Fernandez-Stark (Global Value Chain Network)
Closing Comments & Next Steps:
Lunch in Executive Dining Room
Visit to GoodBaby, Kunshan (Leading global firm in baby and child products and accessories, including durable products such as car seats and strollers, and non-durables such as diapers and wipes).