Optical illusion? The growth and development of the Optics Valley of China


The ‘cultivated’ nature of the Chinese science parks, against the background of a transitional economy, differentiates them from spontaneous and cooperative Western models, and is a phenomenon deserving close examination. We study the dynamics and features of the so-called Optics Valley of China (OVC) in Hubei, aiming to explore the characteristics of an embryonic local innovation system constructed in a less-favoured region. The results show that institutional factors are the leading forces in a cultivated science park like the OVC. However, along with the shifting focus of the local government, the OVC’s industrial scale has remained small and its industrial chain has remained incomplete. Moreover, the lack of trust and interactions between various components in this innovation system has been highly noticeable. All these features may be seen as warnings to the OVC that a revision of this innovation system is needed in order to avoid the fate of becoming an ‘optical illusion’

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