Local Policy Innovation and City Governance: Graduate Entrepreneurship Policies and Practices in Shenzhen City, China

Friday, 20 July 2018
Distributed Paper
Jin JIANG, Lingnan University, Hong Kong
In recent years, the East Asian countries witnessed a dramatic increase of higher education graduates, who have encountered serious challenges in gaining employment. China is not an exceptional case. The Chinese government has been making great efforts to promote graduate employment. The ‘mass entrepreneurship and innovation’ initiative that was launched in 2014, boosted the high-tech industry and strongly encouraged fresh university graduates to form start-ups. Embracing the calls from the central government, local governments aggressively created concrete plans to boost graduate employment through innovation and entrepreneurship. However, whether graduate entrepreneurship could succeed depends partly on local policies, and on the local endowment of technology, labour and capital.

Shenzhen City, China’s first Special Economic Zone, is one of the most important sites for policy innovation and the delivery of social policy programmes. In addition, it is the only non-municipal city of most active entrepreneurship and received the largest amount of venture capital (Tencent Research Institute, 2016, Internet Entrepreneurship and Innovation White Paper). And Shenzhen is one of the pilot localities for mass innovation by the State Council in May 2016.

Against the backdrop, this study investigates how the Shenzhen government act to support the development of innovation and entrepreneurship of university graduates. The analysis will focus on policies and practices promoting graduate entrepreneurship in Shenzhen, including but not limited to financial support, the training of human resource, the collaboration of establishing Qianhai Shenzhen-Hong Kong Modern Service Industries Cooperation Zone, and other policy programmes for innovation such as incubators and institutional support. More importantly, this study will examine how Shenzhen government has been working closely with industry, higher education institutions, and social communities to implement policy innovations. This study contributes to a better understanding of the local policy innovation in a developmental state.