The Singapore entrepreneurial state in China : a sociological study of the Suzhou Industrial Park (1992-1999)
This study examines the Singapore government's Suzhou Industrial Park project between 1992 and 1999. It argues that the Singapore governments' strategies can be explained as those of a 'transnational entrepreneurial state' participating in the global game of industrial production. As an interventionist government, it sought to realize financial profits in China to supplement economic growth in Singapore. The project involved two strategies designed to enhance the project's competitive advantages. Firstly, it introduced the competitive strategy to supply high quality secondary factors of production - such as industrial infrastructure and bureaucratic administration - to industrial transnational corporations seeking to locate in China. Secondly, it utilized the collaborative strategy to encourage complementary collaboration with the China government and several industrial transnational corporations. During the Construction Phase (1992-1994), both strategies were successfully implemented, enhancing the competitiveness of the Suzhou Industrial Park. During the Take-Off Phase (1994-1996), many industrial transnational corporations had responded positively to these competitive advantages and chose to locate their operations at the Suzhou Industrial Park. During the Adjustment Phase (1997-1998), the Suzhou Industrial Park lost competitiveness because of external factors such as the impact of the Asian Financial Crisis and also because of intense competition from other industrial estates in China. In the Disengagement Phase (1999), the Singapore transnational entrepreneurial state chose to withdraw from the project for economic and political reasons. This study concludes that the Singapore government differed from the archetypal interventionist state because of endogenous and exogenous factors. It became a transnational entrepreneurial state because by its resources and motivations, and its own assessment of its economic and political conditions. This study also found that the outcome of its strategies were not just dependent on how they were implemented but also on the actions of other agents, including collaborators and competitors, and the influence of the external environment.