My fundamental research philosophy is that the impact and recognition of an excellent researcher is essentially linked to his/her contributions to theory and methodology in a particular field. In terms of theory, my research has been consistently centred on the development of a theoretical perspective on business networks that informs cutting-edge research in both economic geography and such cognate disciplines as urban and regional studies, international business studies, and economic sociology. In this perspective, I have shown how business networks are relationally constituted within firms (intra-firm), between different firms (inter-firm), and among firms and other institutions (extra-firm). Three earlier papers in Progress in Human Geography (2000), Growth and Change (2005) and Critical Perspectives on International Business (2005) are representative of this genre of my work. My theoretical framework can be applied to economic and organizational phenomena at a variety of geographical scales that range from competitive firms in local clusters, regional development trajectories, and global production networks (see my empirical research on Asia).

As summarized briefly in Table 1 , I have published six theoretical papers on business networks between 1994 and 2004 that have been widely cited and adopted by researchers in economic geography and other social sciences. These papers have collectively established my reputation in the field of economic geography as a leading authority on thetheory of networks and organizations. In 2000, I edited a special issue of Environment and Planning A on industrial and business networks that brought together some very useful research papers as major contributions to network research in economic geography:

Yeung, Henry Wai-chung (ed.) (2000), ‘Theme issue on industrial and business networks in Asia, Environment and Planning A, Vol.32(2), pp.191-304. (Ranked 8th in Geography and 3rd in Environmental Studies, CIF 1.78, 2003 SSCI)

Another critical aspect of my theoretical contributions in economic geography relates to my interest and work in the philosophy and method in human (economic) geography. This has led to the publications of three major research papers in Geography’s top three journals (see Table 1) – Progress in Human Geography (1997), Annals of the Association of American Geographers (2003), and Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers (2005). These three papers on critical realism and new economic geographies have made some useful contributions to the state of theory and method in economic geography. More recently in 2019, I published a forum paper "Rethinking mechanism and process in the geographical analysis of uneven development" in Dialogues in Human Geography and responded to five commentaries on my forum paper. My response is entitled "What kind of theory for what kind of human geography?".

Apart from these theoretical and methodological papers, I have also actively participated in recent major debates on the nature and future of economic geography in such leading journals as Progress in Human Geography (2000), Environment and Planning A (2001), Antipode (2001) and Journal of Economic Geography (2002). In 2003, I published a major position paper with a colleague from the University of Hong Kong (Dr. George Lin) in Economic Geography as part of a special issue:

Yeung, Henry Wai-chung and Lin, George G.S. (eds.) (2003), ‘Special Issue: Theorizing Economic Geographies of Asia’, Economic Geography, Vol.79(2), pp.107-214. (No.7 in Geography, CIF=1.892, 2003 SSCI)

In this paper, we outlined our vision for the kind of economic-geographical theory on and research in Asia. Based on very positive comments from colleagues during major geographical conferences, we believe that this paper will likely reshape the economic geographical research agenda on Asia in the next ten years. Its publication also signals our full commitment to bringing the best of Asian scholarship to mainstream human geography.

I have been invited with full funding to give keynote lectures in relation to my work on theory and methodology in economic geography in the following workshops and conferences:

Yeung, Henry Wai-chung (2001), Recent Developments in Economic Geography, Keynote Lecture Presented at the Workshop on “Economic Geography”, Henan University, China, 3-4 December 2001.

Yeung, Henry Wai-chung (2002), Recent Developments in Economic Geography, Keynote Lecture Presented at the Institute of Geographical Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, and the Department of Geography, Beijing University, China, 8-9 April 2002.

Yeung, Henry Wai-chung (2002), Theorizing Economic Geographies of Asia, Keynote Paper Presented at the Canadian Association of Geographers Annual Conference, Toronto, Canada, 29 May – 1 June 2002.

Yeung, Henry Wai-chung (2004), Researching Hybridity in Social and Economic Geography, Keynote Paper to be Presented at the Annual Meeting of Finnish Geographers, Joensuu, Finland, 12-13 November 2004.


Department of Geography
National University of Singapore
1 Arts Link, Singapore 117570
Office: (65) 874-6810; Fax: (65) 777-3091
Email: HenryYeung@nus.edu.sg; Homepage: http://courses.nus.edu.sg/course/geoywc/henry.htm