East Asia can be considered a continental and maritime space. The continental space is a continuous landmass including China and the Koreas. China is composed of three major hinterlands having a clustering of container ports. In the South, the Pearl River Delta is a massive accumulation of manufacturing, logistics and port facilities, with Hong Kong and Shenzhen dominating. In the center, the Yangtze River Delta, with the world’s largest container port, Shanghai, is another extensive manufacturing and consumption hinterland. In the north, the Yellow Sea has three major gateway regions, including the Shangdong and Liaoning peninsulas and the Beijing-Tianjin corridor.
The martime space is composed of islands and archipelagos that have a more limited hinterland, particularly in terms of distance. Singapore with the Strait of Malacca, the Philipines, Taiwan, and Japan are all maritime countries that can have a substantial transshipment function or been feeders. For instance, a growing share of Japan’s containerized trade is transshiped through the port of Busan.
The development of all these hinterlands has a strong port-centric focus since the export-oriented model relies on a high level of accessbility and connectivity to the global maritime shipping network. This connectivity is issually better developed than the hinterland connectivity.