Producer services in Xi’an: inner China rising
Introduction An important indication of the level of an urban economy is widely acknowledged to be the presence of businesses that primarily provide sophisticated services to other businesses (Beyers 2002; Daniels 2005). While work continues to emerge on the state of producer services in rapidly developing countries such as China, case studies are largely confined to the most advanced east coast metropolitan areas such as Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou rather than inner China cities most representative of the country’s future domestic development (Gong 2002; Han and Qin 2009; Yi et al., 2011). A classic tenet in economic geography provides the underlying question animating this study: If “place matters,” what is it about that place that matters? Are similarities and differences among producer service functions in various places an outcome of the area’s developmental stage, population, amount, and types of companies, the number and specialties of college graduates, presence of non-local/ foreign businesses, historical predisposition of the political-economic environment, or a combination of these or other factors? Can theoretical projections based on observations of economic behavior in a more advanced setting be applied to similar economic entities in another developmental stage – or do different settings create their own processes that should be considered separately and even “theorized back” to modify previous understandings by using a richer set of behaviors (Yeung 2007)?