Bringing the Center Back In: Development of Urban Entrepreneurialism in Xiong’an New Area





Published date: 

June, 2023


Minji Kim
Yousun Chung


National New Areas are state-level, centrally planned metropolises designed to fulfill the Chinese government’s strategic goals of economicdevelopment, environmental sustainability, institutional reform, and the opening of China’s economy to foreign and overseas Chinese investment. President Xi Jinping’s transformative model of balanced city-regional development, Xiong’an, was designated the 19th NNA in 2017 and positioned as a world-class sustainable smart city. Unique among NNAs, the central government granted the Xiong’an New Area administrative committee provincial-level administrative authority in the management of local economic and social issues. This study examines the Xiong’an New Area administrative committee’s role as an entrepreneurial actor and the implications of Xiong’an for China’s centrallocal relations. We qualitatively analyze top government leaders’ official statements, utilizing news articles obtained from the Xiong’an website. Our analysis demonstrates that the Xiong’an New Area administrative committee employs strategies that are innovative, real and reflexive, and entrepreneurial discourse to attract market sector investment—and thus it is an entrepreneurial actor. Our analysis also confirms the recentralization of China’s city-regional development. The direct guidance of the central government on the Xiong’an New Area administrative committee and the central government’s hierarchical upgrading of Xiong’an undergird this finding. Future scholars of urban entrepreneurialism should consider the expanded role of the central government in China’s city-regional development.