In this study we analyse the emerging patterns of regional collaboration for innovation projects in China, using official government statistics of 30 Chinese regions. We propose the use of Ordinal Multidimensional Scaling and Cluster analysis as a robust method to study regional innovation systems. Our results show that regional collaborations amongst organisations can be categorised by means of eight dimensions: public versus private organisational mindset; public versus private resources; innovation capacity versus available infrastructures; innovation input (allocated resources) versus innovation output; knowledge production versus knowledge dissemination; and collaborative capacity versus collaboration output. Collaborations which are aimed to generate innovation fell into 4 categories, those related to highly specialised public research institutions, public universities, private firms and governmental intervention. By comparing the representative cases of regions in terms of these four innovation actors, we propose policy measures for improving regional innovation collaboration within China.