China and Inner Asia
Organized Panel Session
This paper examines how capital mobility interacts with labor politics and local development through a comparative case study of geographical relocation and expansion of four electronics multinationals from the Yangtze River Delta to West China. Developing an integrated framework that embeds worker agency and location-sensitive labor institutions in the global production networks (GPN), the study has found variegated labor regimes in the new sites of production, depending on firms’ respective positions and labor process in the GPNs, as well as local labor institutions and worker responses. The evidence suggests a dynamic process of relocation, diversification, and specialization in the electronics industry and the importance of location-sensitive labor institutions and worker agency in making the geographies of capitalism, which belie many assumptions of the race-to-the-bottom argument associated with capital mobility.