School of Economics and Management Tsinghua University
P R China

chenjin@ sem.tsinghua.edu.cn

(Corresponding author)

Research Center for Technological Innovation Tsinghua University Beijing P R China

zhaoch.13@ sem.tsinghua.edu.cn



This article details how the Regional Innovation System (RIS) has evolved over time, and puts forward a new concept of the Regional Entrepreneurial System (RES) based on the empirical analysis of China’s regional entrepreneurial systems using the data of Zhongguancun, a prototype of developing an innovation-based economy through technological entrepreneurship in China, compared to Silicon Valley and Massachusetts. It concludes that Zhongguancun’s RES has formed a basic prototype with potential, however, it still needs to be refined and further developed with the active support of the government, which includes setting up a training system for creative talent, building a global entrepreneurial network, a collaborative innovation platform for interactive learning within the entrepreneurial ecosystem, promoting the development of entrepreneurial universities and the application of scientific research in universities adopting an industry cluster strategy, and establishing an entrepreneurial culture and ecosystem to create a better RES.


It is commonly accepted that the National Innovation System (NIS) (Freeman, 1992), and the National Entrepreneurial System (NES) (Olav, 1996), are important institutional designs for national innovative performance, especially in the era of the innovative and entrepreneurial economy. Meanwhile, the Regional Innovation System (RIS) (Cooker, 1997) has become a tool to generate an effective national innovation system, as it can create different sectorial innovation systems in different regions. Based on this theoretical review, this article shows how concepts and ideas have evolved over time with new complexities being introduced, and tries to put forward the new concept of the Regional Entrepreneurial System (RES) and entrepreneurial ecosystem.

From a global perspective, it was regarded an important strategy for the development of the RES to promote industrial innovation and enhance national competitiveness, both in developed and developing countries. Many countries have formed a unique ecosystem of entrepreneurship, such as ‘Silicon Valley’ in the United States, ‘Daeduck’ in South Korea, ‘Bangalore’ in India, and ‘Hsinchu’ in Taiwan. In China, the government and academia, with a profound understanding of the future development of the RES, have decided to build the RES as an important fulcrum to implement the innovative national strategy as a way to achieve the great rejuvenation of Chinese dreams. Building a regional entrepreneurial system can directly promote the development of strategic emerging industries, upgrade the industrial and regional innovation capability, and transfer economic development to achieve sustainable economic development.

Zhongguancun Science Park (Zhongguancun) is China’s first national autonomous innovation demonstration zone, an RES for electronic information, biological medicine, new materials, advanced manufacturing, new energy, and environmental protection. Under the support of China’s national policy, Zhongguancun has made remarkable achievements, demonstrating a strong capacity for innovation and growth potential after years of development. In 2011, Zhongguancun ranked top among the 88 state-level high-tech zones in terms of total revenue, number of enterprises, employees, industrial output, net income, and other indicators. After several years strategic planning, Zhongguancun, with a number of innovative and entrepreneurial resources and creative talent, has managed to establish a collaborative innovation mechanism and a regional entrepreneurial system of university- industry- academia-government, which has the potential to be a world-class innovation cluster and RES.