Agglomeration theory supports and existing findings confirm the geographical proximity of similar firms and spatial attraction of firms to universities. In addition to that, we are able to identify whether universities as one type of innovative units are attracted by firm-type innovators and the size of such attraction. Testing the bidirectional spatial innovation linkage contributes to the debate on firm- or university-led innovation. Using a large patent dataset from Shenzhen, the first innovation-led city in the People's Republic of China, and employing a spatial point process analysis technique, underutilized in the literature that allows the bidirectional testing of coagglomeration, we find varying attraction distances between the same type of innovative units and across university-firm innovation pairs. Attractions are not only limited to identical technology fields but also generate coagglomerations across different technology fields of firms and universities. We find the attraction from firms to universities is more than that from universities to firms. Support is offered to the integration of firms into the university-led innovation clusters in science parks; firm innovation in patent fields like human necessities, physics, and electrical deserve more policy focus to benefit university research and innovation.
agglomeration innovation patents spatial distribution universities