Yifei Sun

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Professor / China, GIS, Economic, Urban
(818) 677-3529
Office location:
Sierra Hall, Room 130-E



  • PhD Geography, 2000, State University of New York, Buffalo
  • MA Geography, 1997, University of Akron, Ohio
  • MS Geography, 1994, Nanjing University, China
  • BA Geography, 1991, Nanjing University, China

Courses Taught

  • Geog306 “Intermediate Geographic Information Systems”
  • Geog351 “Urban Geography”
  • Geog321 “Geography of United States”
  • Geog360 “Quantitative Geography”
  • Geog404 “Urban Field Survey”
  • Geog406 “Advanced Geographic Information Systems”
  • Geog460 “Spatial Analysis”
  • Geog696 “Directed Graduate Research”
  • Geog690F “Methods in GIS: Exploring ArcObjects”

Selected Publications and Presentations

Journal Guest Editors

Sun, Yifei, Max von Zedtwitz and Denis Fred Simon, Guest Editors, 2007 Special Issue on Global R&D in China, Asia Pacific Business Review 13(3).

Zhou, Yu and Yifei Sun, Guest Editors, 2006. Special Issue on Science and Technology Development in China, China Review 6 (1).

Refereed Articles

Sun, Yifei, Maximilian von Zedtwitz and Denis Fred Simon. 2007 “Globalization of R&D and China: an Introduction. Asia Pacific Business Review, 13(3): 311-319.

Sun, Yifei and Ke Wen, “Uncertainties, Imitating behaviors and Foreign R&D Locations: Explaining the Over-concentration of Foreign R&D in Beijing and Shanghai within China.” Asia Pacific Business Review, 13(3): 405-424.

Yifei Sun and Ke Wen. “Country Relational Distance, Organizational Power and R&D Managers: Understanding Environmental Challenges for Foreign R&D in China.” Asia Pacific Business Review, 13(3): 425-450.

Sun, Yifei and Hongyang Wang.2007 “A Spatial Strategy for High-Quality Labor in Rural Development: A Case Study of Jiangsu, China.” Chinese Geographical Science, 17(2): 117-126

Zhou, Yu and Yifei Sun, 2006 “Introduction: Mediating the State and Market in China's Competitive High Technology Industry (.pdf).” China Review 6 (1): 1-7  

Sun, Yifei, Debin Du and Li Huang. 2006. “Foreign R&D in Developing Countries: Empirical Evidence from Shanghai, China (.pdf).” China Review 6(1): 67-91

Sun, Yifei and Hongyang Wang. 2005Does Innovation Matter for Export in China’s Rural Enterprises? Empirical Evidences from Jiangsu.”Asian Geographer, 24 (-2): 1-15

Sun, Yifei. 2005. “Where Economic Status Changes:  An Application of Slope in the Urban Environment (.pdf)” Geographical Information Sciences 11(2): 122-129

Sun, Yifei and Hongyang Wang. 2005. “Does Internet Access Matter for Rural Industry? A Case Study of Jiangsu, China.” Journal of Rural Studies 21 (2): 247-258

Sun, Yifei. 2003. “Strategic or Tactical? Foreign Research and Development in Developing Countries: A Case Study of China.” Asian Geographer 22(1-2): 143-167.

Sun, Yifei. 2003. “Geographic Patterns of Industrial Innovation in China.” Tijdschrift Voor Economische En Sociale Geografie (Journal of Economic and Social Geography) 94(3): 376-389

Sun, Yifei. 2003. “Determinants of Foreign Patents in China (.pdf).” World Patent Information 25(1): 27-37

Edward L. Jackiewicz and Yifei Sun. 2003. “The Ties that Bind, or Not? The Assimilation of Brazilian Migrants in South Florida (.pdf)” The North American Geographer 5(1-2): 114-128

Sun. Yifei. 2002. “Determining the Size of Spatial Clusters in Focused Tests: Comparing Two Methods by Means of Simulation in a GIS (.pdf).” Journal of Geographical Systems 4(4): 359-370. Sun, Yifei. 2002. “China’s National Innovation System in Transition (.pdf).” Eurasia Geography and Economics 43(6):476-492

Sun, Yifei. 2002. “Sources of Innovation in China’s Manufacturing Sector: Imported or In-house Developed? (.pdf)” Environment and Planning A 34(6): 1059-1072

Sun, Yifei. 2001 “Monitoring Spatial Patterns around Fixed Points: Comparing Two Distance-based Approaches.” Geographic Information Sciences 7:42-52  

Peter A. Rogerson and Yifei Sun, 2001. “Spatial Monitoring of Geographic Patterns: An Application to Crime Analysis (.pdf).” Computers, Environment and Urban Systems 25:538-556   Sun, Yifei, 2000. “Spatial Distribution of Patents in China (.pdf).” Regional Studies 34(5): 441-454

Research and Interests

My research interests fall broadly within the realm of urban and economic geography. Particularly, I am interested in how the urban and economic landscapes are structured and restructured by global and local forces. More specifically, I would like to exmine the geography of technology, innovation, and industrial clustering. I am currently working on a collaborative project, funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation, to examine the information and telecommunication industry in China, particularly around three major areas: Beijing, Yangtze River Delta with a focus around Shanghai-Suzhou, and the Pearl River Delta with a focus around Shenzhen-Dongguan. The purpose of this project is to see how global and local networks affect technological innovations in Chinese industrial enterprises. In this project, I will concentrate on the Shanghai area. Meanwhile, I am wrapping up another project on foreign research and development investment in China.