The rapid development of cultural industries as well as branding and commercialization of grassroots artist clusters in deserted loft factories and suburban villages in Beijing and other major cities marks the entrance of major cities in China into a post-industrial era. Based on our multiple field surveys and literature review, this paper traces the evolution of grassroots artist clusters from its initial organic gathering to branding and the current phase of commercialization. Similar to its counterparts in the West, the development of grassroots artist clusters in China is driven predominately by market forces. However, the impact of globalization through artwork orders and foreign-owned galleries on Chinese grassroots artist clusters has been unparalleled and has accelerated every stage of the development. In addition, Chinese government policies, particularly the change from opposition to support, have had very strong influences on the development of grassroots artist clusters. Given the importance of cultural and creative industries, continuous scholarly monitoring of the grassroots development and relationship to regional economic development and urbanization is necessary.