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How manufacturing industries connect cities across the world: extending research on ‘multiple globalizations’

Global Networks

Published online on


In this article, I concentrate on a macro‐level analysis of inter‐urban linkages in a ‘world city network’. Empirical research on the formation of a world city network has mostly concentrated on global service providers. Yet, globally operating manufacturing firms also choose distinct urban regions throughout the world as locational anchoring points. In this article, using social network analysis, I present the first global‐scale analysis of how manufacturing firms connected cities across the world (in 2010). To detect the differing ‘sectoral profiles’ and nodal centralities of cities functioning as geographical hubs of transnational production networks, it is necessary to analyse the network structure of distinct industrial subsectors within the global urban system. The data collected for analysis cover 120 top global firms from three manufacturing subsectors, of which two are analysed in more detail than the third. I then compare the nodal centralities of cities included in these subsectors' global networks with the GaWC research on the producer services sector that has been at the centre of previous analyses of the world city network. The comparison reveals the cities' differing positioning within ‘multiple globalizations’. The aim of the article is to extend research on world city networks.