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Brands and Branding: An Analysis of the Evolutionary Development of Baijiu Industry Clusters in China

Yang, Hui


Hui Yang



Research into industry clusters and brands and branding has emerged and developed in the Western world for decades. In China, the Reform and Opening up policy adopted since the late 1970s, has resulted in impressive economic growth around economic clusters, including some manufacturing processing industries, and some industries related to high-technology, and traditional industries (i.e. agricultural and Baijiu products). This thesis aims to contribute to the academic and political understanding of these issues through exploring the emergence, agglomeration and development of Chinese alcoholic beverage/Baijiu industry clusters. Inspired by theories of industry clusters, and brands and branding, this thesis proposes to find out and understand the development of Chinese industry clusters formations and their branding strategies, especially in a traditional industry sector. These ideas are described and analysed through a qualitative-oriented fieldwork investigation in seven industry clusters within three Chinese prefecture-level cities, namely, Luzhou, Yibin and Zunyi.
From a theoretical perspective, industry clusters and brands and branding theories/strategies are not separate from, but are associated with, each other. Brands and branding strategies are not only marketing concepts but also have diverse meanings from economic, social, ecological, political and cultural perspectives. With the characteristics of geographical entanglements (Pike, 2009b), dynamic network frames and creative activity, the brands and branding strategies are geographically linked to multi-layer industry clusters. This makes it possible to identify industry clusters from brands and branding insights, especially in this global world. The concepts of brands and branding, and industry clusters, and the relationship between them form one part of the thesis’s contributions. In addition, evolutionary economic geography theory is useful to explore industry clusters, which has been utilised to explain the brands and branding of Chinese Baijiu regional agglomeration and industry clusters.
From an empirical perspective, the Chinese Baijiu industry’s clusters, brands and branding strategies can be analysed from four aspects, namely, price and some intangible brand value factors; ecological and environmental elements; the Baijiu organisational structure of the production, circulation, and consumption; and the policies and regulations of regional agglomerations and industry clusters. Price is a tangible brand value factor which differentiates Chinese Baijiu commodity with multi-level prices. Enterprise structures and scales help form the Baijiu industry cluster formations as well; natural-related elements of environment/ecology include water, grains, human activities and cultural and historical backgrounds, which explain the meanings of origins, and influence the regional agglomerations of Chinese Baijiu; societal consumption and investment extend industrial chains of Chinese Baijiu and drive its agglomeration and dispersion; multi-layer governmental policies and regulations force and impede the emergence and development of Chinese Baijiu industry clusters. Regional agglomerations provide spatial backgrounds for Chinese Baijiu industry clusters. Drawing upon this, seven Chinese Baijiu industry clusters are identified and their evolutionary developments are explored: Chinese Baijiu Golden Triangle Baijiu Industry Development Zone, Sichuan Luzhou Baijiu Industry Park, Guojiao 1573 Square, Renhuai Economic Development Zones (including three functional parks: National Baijiu Industrial Park, Renhuai Famous Baijiu Industrial Park, and Tanchang Modern Service Park), Wuliangye Group, Jiudu Yibin · Wuliangye Culture Features Street and Qionglai Basic Baijiu Production Zone. Driven by the branding strategies of both enterprises and government policy guidelines, these seven Chinese Baijiu industry clusters show a development characteristic of enterprises/products branding–industry cluster branding–place/province branding.
Furthermore, more detailed brand identification, industry clusters and global value chains, and globalisation and branding strategies all provide future research possibilities for Chinese Baijiu industry. This thesis still has its limitations, which may need more quantitative methods to measure and examine the formation and development of Chinese Baijiu industry. Basically, this thesis also offers potential research connecting to other Chinese agricultural industries, manufacturing industries and tourism industries.


Yang, H. (2020). Brands and Branding: An Analysis of the Evolutionary Development of Baijiu Industry Clusters in China. (Thesis). University of Hull. Retrieved from

Thesis Type Thesis
Deposit Date Jan 9, 2024
Publicly Available Date Jan 9, 2024
Keywords Industry clusters; Brands and branding; Chinese Baijiu Industry
Public URL
Additional Information Department of Geography, Geology and Environment
University of Hull
Award Date Feb 1, 2020


Thesis (5.3 Mb)

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© 2020 Hui Yang. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright holder.

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