Late Innovation Strategies in Asian Electronics Industries: A Conceptual Framework and Illustrative Evidence
No 66, Economics Study Area Working Papers from East-West Center, Economics Study Area
This paper was published in Oxford Development Studies special issue in honor of the late Professor Linsu Kim. The paper reviews evidence on the evolution of electronics design in Asia's leading electronics exporting countries, to establish what capabilities have been developed, and to shed light on the forces that are driving "late innovation" strategies. It also reviews intellectual sources that can be used to theoretically ground these hypotheses. Using a well-known taxonomy of innovation that distinguishes incremental, modular, architectural and radical innovations, and the concept of "disruptive technologies", I argue that Asian firms may have realistic chances to engage in incremental innovations as well as in architectural innovations. However, to sustain "late innovation" strategies over a longer period, "complex system integration" capabilities are necessary to provide the missing link.
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