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Despite its significant role, government encounters a policy dilemma that how to intervene to promote industrial cluster upgrading. This paper focuses on government-supported innovation platforms within clusters. Through a comparative case study in China, we find a general pattern among cluster characteristics, governance mode and strategic position of innovation platform. The contributions are: 1) proposing a typology for innovation platform; 2) enriching the knowledge-based theory of clusters by innovation practices in developing countries; 3) pointing out that embedding in global value chain is not always appropriate for clusters in developing countries. Managerial implications and future research directions are also discussed.