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R&D Activities of Manufacturing Multinationals in China: Structure, Motivations and Regional Differences

Kazuyuki Motohashi ()

China & World Economy, 2010, vol. 18, issue 6, 56-72

Abstract: This paper investigates the R&D motivations of various multinationals operating in China, drawing on a large‐scale, firm‐level dataset of official Chinese statistics on science and technology activities. The present study shows that R&D efforts in China have intensified for both foreign‐owned and domestic firms, but less so for foreign‐owned firms, perhaps because foreign‐owned firms tend to operate on a foundation of technological capabilities developed within their home countries. Statistical analysis confirms that the major motivations for foreign R&D in China are production‐driven, not market‐driven or technology‐driven. Nevertheless, one sees significant variations in foreign R&D strategies from region to region. Guangdong is characterized by production‐driven R&D. In Beijing, R&D strategies tend to take a technology‐driven approach, drawing on the clusters of scientific institutions. In Shanghai, the R&D efforts of multinationals tend to focus on support for market‐driven R&D.

Date: 2010
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