In the urban development policy in China, city brands play an important role in setting targets for Chinese cities. These economic city brands, however, are not produced in an institutional vacuum: they are embedded in the visions national, provincial and municipal governments have for these cities, i.e., on multi-level governance. In this paper, a data-intense analysis of economic city branding practices has been conducted in the Greater Pearl River Delta, taking into account national, provincial and municipal documents in socio-economic, urban and land use planning. Evidence of economic and ecological initiatives through branding at the level of symbolic urban projects, such as new towns, has also been examined. It transpires that Hong Kong, Macau, Guangzhou and Shenzhen have adopted more sophisticated economic brand identities than the others and the reflection of brand-related targets from their actual projects is also more credible. While China’s national plans focus primarily on Hong Kong and Macau, provincial documents place more emphasis on the wealthier cities on the mainland (Shenzhen and Guangzhou). The other cities attract less attention and have more freedom to adopt economic city brands, but their efforts to live up to their promise are quite limited due to their weak financial position.
Original languageEnglish
Article number496
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2017

    Research areas

  • economic city branding, multi-level governance, city profile, China, new towns, OA-Fund TU Delft

ID: 13680347