Technological catching-up: co-evolution of learning mechanism and technological capabilities | Статья в журнале «Молодой ученый»

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Рубрика: Педагогика

Опубликовано в Молодой учёный №13 (303) март 2020 г.

Дата публикации: 30.03.2020

Статья просмотрена: 16 раз

Библиографическое описание:

Суворова, Е. А. Technological catching-up: co-evolution of learning mechanism and technological capabilities / Е. А. Суворова, Юйсен Сю. — Текст : непосредственный // Молодой ученый. — 2020. — № 13 (303). — С. 236-242. — URL: https://moluch.ru/archive/303/68453/ (дата обращения: 23.10.2021).



This paper explores in depth the role of indigenous and foreign innovation efforts in technological change and catching up in emerging economies. It examines the current literature on management of technology (MOT) and stresses the importance of keeping up with the speed of the technological change and the emerging new global paradigms of the business environment. Despite a voluminous literature on firm-level technological capability building in developing countries, there is still limited knowledge about the relative importance of different learning mechanisms as firms deepen their technological capabilities. To address this knowledge gap, this paper investigates the sources of learning used by firms in emerging economies.

Key words: knowledge transfer, latecomer firms, technological capability, catching-up.

Catching-up is a very important phenomenon in the world economy. Targeting rapidly growing and advanced technologies is the advantage of catching-up countries. From national innovation system approach, technology and innovation are central to the catching-up process, and a country (or firm, for that matter) must be able to use a specific “window of opportunity” that may arise in the evolution of a technology system to catch-up if they implement appropriate social, industrial and technology policies; otherwise, it will continue to lag behind. Many countries and economies have successfully exploited their window of opportunity, such as the USA in the 19th century, Japan from the 1960s, later Korea, Taiwan and Singapore, and most recently China. Lots of researchers noted that not all countries have the opportunity or ability to capitalize on the chance to catch up. For a developing country, it is not easy to proceed from the stage of imitation to the stage of innovation. Installing large plants with foreign technology and foreign assistance will not help in the building of technological capability. More specifically, we try to answer the following questions: Where does the needed knowledge come from? How can we determine a successful catch-up strategy that promotes the “innovative capacity” of firms?

More specifically, understanding how firms and industries in developing countries can improve their economic performance and competitiveness by building technological capability has been a core topic for research over the past four decades (Dahlman et al., 1987; Dutrénit et al., 2013; Katz, 1987; Kim and Nelson, 2000; Lall, 1992; Romijn, 1997). This vast and multifaceted literature on the development of technological capabilities has generated a substantial body of theoretical frameworks and empirical evidence across a variety of firms, industrial sectors and countries. Particularly useful have been the elaborated conceptualizations of different stages in the technological capability building process (see e. g. Ariffin, 2010; Figueiredo, 2001, 2003). Such frameworks have been put forward to obtain a greater understanding of how the process of technological change unfold in developing countries to move beyond the longstanding simplistic view that innovation in developing countries is confined mainly to the simple adoption and incremental chance of technologies acquired from abroad (e.g. Viotti, 2002). The detailed research on the growth of specific firms and industries over time has also provided a profound body of knowledge about the sources of learning in technological capability building.

The catching-up hypothesis

Innovation is defined by De Meyer and Garg (2005) as the economically successful introduction of a new technology or a new combination of existing technologies in order to create a drastic change in the value/price relationship offered to the customer and/or user. The importance of innovation and its international diffusion is undoubtedly a historically well-recognized factor in the industrialization of both Europe and the United States in the nineteenth century, and even more strikingly of Japan in the twentieth century. That importance emerges again and significantly stronger from the evidence of the rapid industrialization of some so-called newly industrializing countries, such as South Korea, over the last two decades. However, the challenges to shift from imitative to innovative stages are not trivial.

Strengthening innovative capabilities provides a means to improve country level economic conditions through a process of catching up. An early proponent to understanding development as a catch-up process was Gershenkron in his comparative study of European countries and Soviet Union experience of economic growth. He saw advantages in ‘economic backwardness’ where countries could overcome initial obstacles and “select those paths along which they will be able to […] increase the yield in terms of human welfare and human happiness” (Gerschenkron, 1962). Nowadays, ‬economic ‬scholars ‬tend ‬to define ‬catch-up ‬as ‬a narrowing ‬the gap ‬in productivity and ‬income ‬between ‬a leading country ‬and a lagging country (Fagerberg & Godinho, 2005). It has also been described as a process by which a late-developing country narrows the income gap (“‬economic catch-up”) and increases ‬its ‬technological ‬capability (“‬technological ‬catch-up”) vis-à-vis ‬a ‬leading country (Odagiri, Goto, Sunami, & Nelson, 2010). While there was great possibility, Gershenkron also identified constraints and certain conditions, what we may call capabilities, to catch up. He noticed, “there are considerable differences, as compared with more advanced countries, not only with regard to the speed of development (the rate of industrialized growth) but also with regard to the productive and organizational structures of industry which emerged from those processes” (Gerschenkron, 1962) p.7). These studies suggest that technological catching up may ‬be ‬measured ‬using ‬several ‬indicators ‬such ‬as ‬income, ‬productivity, ‬and technological ‬capability, according ‬to the ‬purpose ‬of ‬the research (Lee, ‬2013). ‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

Our primary focus is on the technological aspects of catch-up, defined as substantial improvement of ‬technological capabilities by firms from technologically lagging countries in their process ‬of ‬closing the gap with incumbents ‬in ‬advanced countries, thereby approaching the global technological frontier. In some cases, the process is still ongoing as latecomers are gaining ‬ground ‬vis-à-vis ‬incumbents ‬or ‬leaders; however, cases do exist of already finished or completed catch-up, which is equivalent to convergence or overtaking.‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

In the past, many stories of catch-up in Asia were about low-cost-based catch-up in terms of market shares rather than technological capability-based catch-up. However, more recently, Asian catch-up has involved ‬firms ‬equipped ‬with ‬advanced ‬technologies ‬allowing them to overtake ‬industry frontrunners.‬ ‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬ The most famous examples of countries that were able to follow the technology-assimilation road out of low development are the so-called Asian Tigers (Hong Kong, South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan) and Japan. Their post-war economic history is well-documented, and, shows how they actively assimilated foreign knowledge in gradual steps. Using the assimilated foreign knowledge, these countries were able to develop completely new manufacturing sectors and become competitive at a global scale. In this process, their economies transformed from largely agricultural societies to manufacturing and modern service economies.‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

What exactly are nations catching up to? The catch-up hypothesis views development as a process of closing a technological gap. Highly developed nations are at a frontier of technology or knowledge, while the great majority of other nations lag behind. In this way, technological gap theory sees the variety of development levels primarily due to technological differences. Therefore, countries should aim towards technological advancement, which can ignite high growth rates and place a country on a path to development. Within this tradition, there are many evolutionary and Schumpeterian scholars who have developed theoretical models and additional empirical evidence on catching up and technological gaps (Dosi, Pavitt & Soete, 1990; Fagerberg & Godinho, 2005; Fagerberg & Verspagen, 2002; Nelson & Pack, 1999; Verspagen, 1991, among others).‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

Following a similar thought of Gerschenkron, Abramowitz noted that technological advancement has necessary pre-conditions, which he coined as technological congruence and social capability (Abramovitz, 1986). This requires significant effort, coordination, and investment tailored to the country’s environment, internally and externally. The rate of speed to catch up also depends on the relative position to the frontier. Even though a country may be far behind, there is opportunity for rapid growth. Abramowitz noted, “that being backward in level of productivity carries a potential for rapid advance” (Abramovitz, 1986, p. 386). The farther back a country is from the frontier, the larger the potential for high growth rates to catch up. Social capability is loosely defined, but includes current processes of knowledge diffusion, conditions of the technical competence (i.e., education), labour market structure and migration, organization of firms (i.e., business environment), political stability, macroeconomic conditions affecting investment and effective demand, and financial institutions to mobilize capital (Abramovitz, 1986; Fagerberg, Srholec, & Verspagen, 2010, p.390). These are the foundations for the catch-up process to occur.

In fact, the great majority of developing countries continue to face enormous difficulties in their efforts to industrialize. This has lent credence to the theories of 'dependency' which hold that there is a structural gap between developing and developed countries that remains and widens. Thus, the few recent examples of relative success which seem to counter that theory have, not surprisingly, aroused intense interest and demand a satisfactory explanation. In our view, what is required is a deeper understanding of the technological issues which underlie the process of development. More adequate attention must be given to the questions of how technologies evolve and diffuse and under what conditions a process of effective technological catching up can take place.

From this‬ review of the theoretical background of these articles, we found that the ‬theoretical ‬contribution ‬of ‬existing ‬studies regarding ‬technological catch-up is still weak especially in the area of management compared to that of economics, where the theories of catch-up are relatively well developed. A substantial number of management studies lacked‬ a clear theoretical background; therefore, their theoretical contributions are uncertain. Thus, it is important for future researchers to develop a systematic theory ‬of technological catch-up. ‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

Latecomer firms and secondary innovation

From the resource-based perspective, asymmetry in the resources needed to access the target markets lead to the competitive disadvantages faced by latecomer firms in terms of technology and market access (Hobday, 1995; Matthews, 2002). More specifically, latecomer firms cannot deploy the same set of valuable, rare, inimitable and non-substitutable internal resources developed by established competitors (Li and Kozhikode, 2008). Considering this asymmetry, latecomer firms seek to obtain critical resources externally while trying to catch-up with internal development. They rely on a combined set of some initial advantages such as low wages and government support (Amsden, 1989). Moreover, they target under-served market niches overlooked by incumbents (Li and Kozhikode, 2008; Wu et al., 2010). In this regard, buying or emulating technology from abroad tends to be the best option. In addition to allowing latecomer firms to enhance price and quality competitiveness through incremental improvements (Amsden, 1989), secondary innovation allows them to learn how to produce at cutting-edge levels of efficiency. This advances their competitiveness beyond their technological development capabilities (Westphal, 2002).

Secondary innovation starts with technology acquisition and relies on the adaptation and/or localization of the technologies acquired (Wu et al., 2009). It helps produce products that are ‘good enough’ and helps develop business models tailored to the characteristics and preferences of the firm’s home market (Wu et al., 2010). This study refers to secondary innovation as embracing all those concepts and practices that relate to the limited originality, significance and the new technology content of products (Drucker, 1985; Chen et al., 2011; Guan et al., 2006; Liu, 2008; Maksimov et al., 2014).

The basic tenets of secondary innovation can be traced back to the study by Gershenkron (1962), in the seminal works by Abramovitz (1986) and Amsden (1989) as well as to Drucker’s (1985) conceptualization of creative imitation, at the corporate level. However, the topic has reached more widespread popularity over the past 20 years because of the East Asian context. This includes Kim’s works (Kim, 1997, 1998) on Korea and China, where the term ‘secondary innovation’ first appeared during the mid-1990s (Wu et al., 2009). These studies have comprehensively focused on why and how firms adopt secondary innovation as well as how this leads to the development of technological capabilities through interaction with mature, emerging or disruptive technologies. Yet, none of these studies have discussed its potential limitations, which arise from decline in productivity and potential shortages of advanced technological skills coupled with the rapid technological obsolescence (Abramovitz, 1986; Westphal, 2002) inherent in the catch-up process. Due to such obstacles, latecomers may fail to compete with incumbents because they cannot generate the technological change required to build on their initial low-cost, localization and productivity advantages. In fact, at the mature stages of a technology’s lifecycle, the pace of technological change will inevitably slowdown due to a reduction in technological opportunities.

Figueiredo (2014) argued that there are other outcomes beyond technological catch-up. Accordingly, technological backwardness is another possible outcome of catch-up, eventually leading a firm to choose the acquisition and adaptation of existing technologies over internal technological development (Guan et al., 2006) or to exit the market (Li and Kozhikode, 2008). In fact, in accordance with the resource-based perspective, the few initial advantages latecomers can deploy or the resources they can acquire initially are not particularly valuable, rare, inimitable or non-substitutable because of the asymmetry in knowledge levels with the providers of these resources. Accordingly, a better strategy for latecomers would be low costs coupled with readily available, less advanced technologies.

Since the study by Gershenkron (1962), researchers have believed that industrialization happens by imitating pioneering incumbents. The main facets of this process involved the importation of technologies and know-how from abroad in the form of turnkey modern machinery, technical assistance, skilled labour and the use of training facilities in more advanced countries. Nonetheless, this has never been a purely imitative process since it has always occurred in combination with different, indigenously determined elements (Gershenkron, 1962). Abramovitz’s (1986) social capability concept, strictly related to years of education (but not only), is one of those key elements that make a country able to absorb and exploit advanced technologies.

In this regard, learning has played a fundamental role, especially in more recent industrialization. Learning, with particular reference to imitation and apprenticeship using technologies developed elsewhere, was the new and prominent policy adopted by East Asian late-industrializing countries to develop these capabilities; firms were the catalyst in this process (Amsden, 1989) through their specialization in learning using technologies transferred from abroad (Westphal, 2002). Scientific progress has made operations far easier to transfer and exploit technology to narrow competitive gaps. However, the exhaustion of acquired technological opportunities has also raised the need to harness scientific content to pioneer new technologies through the development of in-house technological capability (Amsden, 1989; Westphal, 2002). Therefore, the adaptive learning focus on mastering the acquired technology and its localization needs at the imitation and apprenticeship stages needs to evolve into the development of capabilities. This would help transform acquired technologies into new combinations and applications and generate new ones (Wu et al., 2009).

This implies the role of organizational characteristics in the effectiveness of technology transfer. The key role in this regard has been attributed to absorptive capacity. Kedia and Bhagat (1988) argued that with absorptive capacity, a firm can make better use of transferred technologies and obtain better technologies to undertake its own technological developments.

Technological capabilities and learning

A main topic of interest within the technological capability literature involves exploring the intensity, persistence and effectiveness with which firms engage in various intra-firm and external learning efforts to build technological capability. Emphasis is often paid to the deliberate activities and resources devoted by firms to engage with building technological capability. As shown in Table 1 below, firms may pursue various internal sources of learning within their organization and through engaging with different actors and organizations in their external environment. It should be stressed that we focus here on the relationship between learning sources and technological capability building and therefore do not deal extensively with the concomitant effects on the economic and industrial performance of firms.

In this paper, we draw on previous studies in the technological internal and external learning mechanisms (Bell and Figueiredo, 2012). We compliment this perspective with insights from economic geography, which has devoted specific attention to analyzing the geography of innovation, in order to further develop the external types of learning mechanisms by distinguishing between three sources of learning: 1. those that reside within firms; 2. in the local/national context; and 3. in the global economy (Svetina and Prodan, 2008). Whereas the first-mentioned source of learning, involve various ways that learning take place within the individual organization of the firm, the two later-mentioned denote (external) learning through relations between firms and other actors either in the local/national or the global environment. In the literature, global sources of learning, has for example been conceptualized as global pipelines of knowledge (Bathelt et al., 2004) or as global production networks (Ernst and Kim, 2002) whereas local and national learning sources have been conceptualized for example as localized knowledge, which reside in clusters and local knowledge systems (Gertler, 2003). We built on these insights from the geography of innovation literature as a guiding device in order to develop a three-fold categorization of learning mechanisms, which will be presented in the following. This categorization will present different types of learning sources that have been identified in the literature on firm-level technological capabilities, which will be supplemented by key insights from the literatures on spillovers from foreign direct investments, upgrading in global value chains and industrial clusters in developing countries.‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

While a distinction between firm-internal and different kinds of external sources of learning is a useful typology, the interplay between these sources is highly complex and is likely to be dynamically changing as firms built increasingly levels of technological capability. The concept of absorptive capacity was elaborated by Cohen and Levinthal (1990), acknowledge this interaction between external and internal learning, by emphasizing the relationship between firm-internal investments in R&D and the ability to effectively utilize external sources of learning.

Table 1

Mechanism

Definition

Intra-organizational technology transfer

Foreign subsidiaries

Investment by foreign companies in local subsidiaries. This enables the transfer of hardware and know-how. The specific mix depends on what firm functions are transferred.

Joint ventures

Formal cooperation between a foreign firm and a local firm involving the sharing of equity capital as well as risks and profits. Even though subsidiaries typically result in significant technology transfer, certain know-how necessary for the design of the product and the production process is often not shared with the joint venture.

Outward M&A

Acquisition of foreign firm by local firm, usually giving the acquiring firm full access to technology.

Inter-organizational transfer modes

Trade in production equipment

Production equipment produced in the supplying country is imported by the recipient. This is sometimes accompanied by commissioning services and/or quality assurance contracts.

Turnkey production facilities

“Turnkey projects” refer to the case when the supplier is responsible for the implementation of the technology in the recipient country, which means for example that manufacturing equipment is accompanied by engineers to transfer the knowledge related to the operation and use of machine. Thus, the level of transfer in turnkey projects is broader than other forms of trade involving only the embodied product.

Design licensing

A legal contract where the technology supplier (licensor) transfers specific rights related to the design of a product to the recipient (licensee)for a specific duration. It is frequently accompanied by some form of training.

Process licensing

A legal contract where the technology supplier (licensor) transfers specific rights related to manufacturing process step to the recipient (licensee)for a specific duration. It is frequently accompanied by some form of training.

Joint research and/or development (with foreign firms or research institutes)

R&D cooperation by a local firm with a legally independent foreign firm or research institutes. The new innovations ad improvements resulting from the partnership are made under case-specific arrangements concerning the intellectual property rights.

Human resources

Inter-firm transfer of human resources

Native or foreign employees with experience working for foreign firm move to a local firm and thus facilitate the diffusion of know-how.

Foreign education

The foreign education of entrepreneurs and key employees can be transferred when these individuals return home after studying abroad and apply the accumulated know-how in their home market through founding their own business or working in existing business.

Training

Training of recipient firm’s employees by foreign partners.

Source: Lame (2012); Lewis (2013); Lin and Tao (2012).

Research on the flow of knowledge in innovation has been extensive, starting with Allen (1977) and Katz and Allen (1982) and later e. g. Sorenson et al. (2006) on communication and knowledge sharing in R&D settings. The international dimension of such flows were added by Ghoshal and Bartlett (1988), Gupta and Govindarajan (1991) and De Meyer (1993), and later by e. g. Kuemmerle (1997), Subramanian and Venkatraman (2001), and Gertler and Levitte (2005). Hakanson and Nobel (2000 and 2001), Buckley et al (2003), and Ambos et al (2006) have addressed the reversal of such flows.

Economic development is fueled by the international diffusion of technological knowledge, and by the development of capabilities of economic actors who adopt this knowledge, and the institutions that facilitate this adoption. The Technology Gap Theory (TGT) of growth and structural change assigns crucial importance to international technology flows in explaining growth patterns across the globe. Pioneered by scholars such as Moses Abramovitz, Richard Nelson and Jan Fagerberg, it looks at inflows of foreign technological knowledge as a factor that potentially transforms and modernizes the domestic economy. The assimilation of foreign knowledge is, however, conditional on sufficient social and other capabilities being present in the economy. Such capabilities require a major and concerted investment in infrastructure, education, the political system, universities and other research institutes — in short institutions in a broad sense. Such investments are costly and take a high degree of state capacity. Economic policy, in particular industrial policy and innovation policy, plays a crucial role in the technology gap view of development. It is seen as a decisive factor for whether countries are able to catch-up to the global economic frontier (which, in the economic history of the last century, is an exceptional case), or will fall behind (the large majority of developing countries).

What is new in emerging economies innovation?

Given the might and momentum of the Western industrial R&D machinery, it is easy to overlook the blossoming of innovation in emerging economies. MNCs from advanced countries still outspend those from emerging countries by far despite a high R&D growth rate observed in the past few years for companies based in emerging economies such as China, India, and South Korea (2019 EU Industrial R&D Investment Scoreboard). The same report identifies US, Europe, and Japan as the main source of top companies for R&D investment (with 37 %, 27.0 %, and 14 %, respectively, of the world total) while emerging economies such as Korea and China are still trailing with 4.0 % and 10 %. Over the last decade, the EU has maintained a 26–27 % share and the main change has been an increasing share for China with a decreasing share for Japan. The still predominant position of advanced countries in innovation is mirrored in the Global Innovation Index (Dutta, 2019) which shows how the traditional industry centers — the US, Europe, and Japan — are still leading the ranking. Even though China becomes more respected as a place to do science (Zhou and Leydesdorff, 2014), advanced countries also outnumber emerging countries as hosts of leading scientific institutions: 92 of the top-100 universities are located in advanced countries (mainly US and UK), only 8 in emerging countries, as per the 2019 Shanghai Jiaotong ranking (ARWU, 2019). Modern R&D is an accomplishment of Western-led industrialization.

Still, emerging economies MNCs are gaining ground with respect to global R&D. These includes well-researched firms such as Huawei, who have 21 R&D centers in countries such as the US, Germany, UK, India, Thailand and Russia, but also lesser known firms such as Goodbaby, who has set up R&D and design centers in Boston, Utrecht, Tokyo and Hong Kong — all of that besides having substantial R&D organizations inside China, of course. Satyam, an Indian firm, has R&D also in other emerging or less developed countries such as Egypt, Brazil and Malaysia (as well as other advanced countries). Sasol, a South African MNC, has global R&D in Germany, the US, UK, the Netherlands and Italy. Many of these R&D centers may be small in comparison to their home bases, but they indicate an emergence of global R&D organizations that so far were the hallmark of Western and Japanese MNCs only.

Although often questioned, patents represent the strongest proxy for measuring innovation activity (Watanabe et al, 2001). Patent statistics sometimes suggest a comparability of national innovation performance that is misleading in reality. For instance, differences in national invention subsidies, definition of acceptable novelty, or presence of alternative forms of patents (such as utility patents) can significantly distort the picture. Statistics on patents filed under the PCT agreement have a twofold function: (1) they are more suitable proxies for international comparison, as PCT patents are subject to a worldwide standardized recognition and approval process, and (2) they provide a useful proxy for global innovation. Even in this domain, emerging economies have largely increased their share of global patent applications between 1978 and 2019, although their worldwide share is still relatively small with 8.05 %. Still, over the period of 40 years since 1978, with 19.76 % the annual growth rate for emerging economies was much higher than that of developed countries at 13.7 %. For most of the period from 1970 to 2000 only three countries — the United States of America (U.S.), Japan and Germany — accounted for two thirds of all patenting activity worldwide. In absolute terms advanced countries are still far ahead; however, according to 2019 WIPO data, China is already the second largest PCT filer in the world, closely behind of United States of America (U.S.), but ahead of France and the United Kingdom.

The rise of emerging countries is not only a matter of scale, as one might estimate given the size of the two most populous countries, India and China, but also a matter of scope. WIPO data allows PCT patent applicants to be identified by organization. China and the Republic of Korea are largely responsible for the rising share of new areas in knowledge production and innovation; together, they account for over 20 percent of patents registered in the years 2015–2017, compared to under 3 percent in 1990–1999. Other countries, notably Australia, Canada, India and Israel, have also contributed to the global spread of innovation. Many middle-income countries, however, and all lower-income countries, continue to have substantially lower levels of patenting activity. The top-10 PCT applicants were, well into the 2000s, either US or European multinationals. 2007 marked the first time that Japan fielded the most companies in the top-10 (Panasonic, Fujitsu, Sony), and by 2010 there were only 4 Western firms left — the rest came from Japan (3), China (2), and Korea. China had its first top-10 representative in 2001 when Biowindow Gene Development became the first top-10 PCT filer of any emerging economy, and first topped the list when Huawei was the largest filer of PCT patents in 2008.

Emerging economies MNCs have been capitalizing on their innovation performance and gaining global market share in their respective industries. The Financial Times, which ranks firms according to their market capitalization, had 112 companies from emerging economies in their top-500, three of them in the top-5, in their 2011 ranking (Financial Times, 2019). Fortune, which ranks by the amount of revenues, had 107 in the top-500 (Fortune, 2019). In 2005, those numbers were 43 and 44, respectively. China, Brazil, Russia are leading the way for other emerging economies.

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Основные термины (генерируются автоматически): PCT, BTM, IPR, SAGE, WIPO, ARWU, GEFHR, INSEAD, MIT, MNC.


Ключевые слова

knowledge transfer, latecomer firms, technological capability, catching-up

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