||China has developed various regional developmental patterns of political economy, all of which have achieved dramatic economic growth since 1978. Nevertheless, the economic performance of these regional developmental models has recently diverged and presented different crisis-coping abilities in response to the global financial crisis of 2007–2009. This thesis explores why previously well-performing regional developmental models reflected different crisis-coping abilities when the economic environment cooled. Drawing on national economic census data, in-depth interviews, and relevant scholarly literature, the thesis conducts a comparative study of China’s three well-known regional developmental patterns—the Wenzhou model, the Dongguan model, and the Suzhou model. It argues that the institutional adaptability of local governments in the continuously changing economic environment shaped the various crisis-coping abilities in different localities. In turn, local variation in institutional adaptability derived both from structural conditions, which mediated the opportunities available to local states, and from agent-centric factors, which influenced the leadership capacity of these states. By exploring the developmental dynamics of sub-national cities in China, this thesis contributes to the literature on China’s adaptive capacity, which has typically focused on the nation-state as the unit of analysis.