Spatial Allocation Mechanism of Venture Capital Invested in China: Role of the Regional Legal System
중국 투자 벤처자본의 공간배치 메커니즘: 지역 법제시스템의 역할을 중심으로

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사회과학대학 지리학과
Issue Date
서울대학교 대학원
capital spatial allocation mechanismventure capitalhidden costsregional legal systemspace and placegame analysis
학위논문 (박사)-- 서울대학교 대학원 : 지리학과, 2017. 2. 구양미.
Spatial Allocation Mechanism of Venture Capital Invested in China
- Role of the Regional Legal System –
Xiao Wei Jin
Department of Geography
The Graduate School
Seoul National University

Through the empirical research of venture capital investment in China from 1992 to 2012, this paper examines the mechanism of the regional legal systems’ influence on geographical distribution of venture capital and further explores the implications of geography in the capital allocation process.
Four sub-questions and corresponding research issues were deduced from the above main research object and the research was conducted as follows, namely: (1) the study of the characteristics of venture capital spatial allocation patterns, (2) the interpretation of the reason and process of the venture capital spatial allocation phenomenon, (3) the mechanism of the regional legal systems’ influence on venture capital spatial allocation, and (4) the implication of geography in the capital allocation process.
Three analysis tools, i.e., the correlation analysis, the qualitative interpretation of legal provisions, and game theory based analysis, were used to discuss the above questions. The corresponding sub-conclusions can be summarized as follows.
Firstly, there are two features of the geographical patterns of venture capital spatial allocation, i.e., the geographical separation of business operation location vs legally registered addresses, and the capital cycle division being scattered into different locations. The phenomenon where the registration location is separated from the actual place of business operation appears in all stages of venture capital investment cycle, namely, fund raising, establishment, investment, and exit. And within the same investment cycle, these four stages are often allocated in different geographical locations. There are three patterns of the capital allocation. The first pattern is the ‘head-tail outside pattern,’ which dominated before 2000. In this pattern the fundraising, registration, and exiting locations are all located outside China, while only the investment activity remained within China. The second pattern is the ‘mix location pattern,’ which means venture capitalist chose to locate the stages in a mixed way according to specific objectives and cases. This pattern appeared most during 2001-2006. The third pattern, which dominated after 2007, is the ‘all stage bake in situ pattern’ where all stages returned to the registration location inside China.
Second, after confirming that legislation has a strong correlation with the above phenomenon by correlation analysis, the qualitative analysis of the legal provision reveals that extra costs caused by law is the fundamental cause for the above phenomenon. Specifically, there always exists a mismatch between regional economic and legislation signals, thus incurs an extra costs or benefit caused by law. To minimize the extra costs or obtain the extra benefit from the regional legal system, venture capitals take the advantage of the scope feature of law and the divisible feature of capital to split the venture investment cycle into parts and allocate it into different locations.
Third, the mechanism of legal impact on venture capital spatial allocation is virtually a game between the government and enterprises that choose different strategies as regards to law and location to maximize their own profits. The ‘hidden costs’ caused by the local legal system and the nature of pursuing maximized corporate income is the fundamental principle and trigger of the mechanism.
Fourth, there is a dual role of geography in the process of capital spatial allocation, i.e., the role of ‘place’ and ‘space’.
In the process of legally influenced capital spatial allocation, when enterprise choose to change their legal status to bypass the law, the actual business operation location and the firm’s registration location still remain within the region. This is because the extra benefits that it derives from the inherent attributes of the region are greater than the extra costs that are caused by the regional legal systems. The inherent attributes including the informal institutions - history, culture, customs, norms, moral, religious constrains of the region - as well as other attributes that are embedded in the region such as the external economic benefits and social networks are ones that the region may supply to the firm. In this case, the region is an irreplaceable ‘place’ for the firm.
On the contrary, when ‘hidden costs’ caused by law exceed the extra benefits provided by the inherent attributes of the region, the firm will separate the registration location from the actual business operation location for the sake of survival and development. The pro forma legal registration address will be placed in an indiscriminate ‘space’ that is concerned only with the location as a legal factor for the firm. In other words, in this case, the newly chosen location for the detached registration address is merely an indiscriminate legal space for the firm.

In short, the regional legal system affects the capital spatial allocation through a dual mechanism, that is, explicit regulations on economic behaviors and implicit influence on the comprehensive income of the firm. Geography has two implications in this dual mechanism: One, when the impact of the regional legal system on the activity and comprehensive income of the firm is less than the benefits it gains from the regional inherence attributes, the region is an irreplaceable ‘place’ for the firm, Otherwise, the corresponding region will merely be an indiscriminate legal ‘space’.
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College of Social Sciences (사회과학대학)Dept. of Geography (지리학과)Theses (Ph.D. / Sc.D._지리학과)
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