TALK: Changing Roles of Taiwanese Firms in Global Innovation Networks: The Case of the Electronics Industry

Event Date: 

Thursday, February 13, 2014 - 12:30pm

Event Location: 

  • Robertson Gym 1005

Dr. Momoko Kawakami: Research Fellow at the Institute of Developing Economies, Japan and Visiting Scholar at the Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, University of California, Berkeley



Dr. Momoko Kawakami
Research Fellow, Institute of Developing Economies, Japan
Visiting Scholar, Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, UC Berkeley

WHEN: Thursday, February 13, 2014 -- 12:30-2:00PM

WHERE: Orfalea Center Seminar Room -- 1005 Robertson Gym
(across the street from the SSMS building near the Ocean Road entrance to Rob Gym)

“Industry platforms” are products or technologies that serve as foundations upon which other firms can build complementary products, services, and technologies. Providers of platforms, or platform leaders, can control the distribution of value-added among firms and determine the speed and direction of innovation in the industry. Traditionally, platform leaders have been powerful firms from developed countries, mostly the U.S. (i.e., Intel, Microsoft, Google, and Apple). East Asian latecomer firms have been competitive providers of complementary products based on the platforms. Recently, however, this landscape is experiencing a significant change. A few number of Taiwanese SoC (system-on-the-chip) firms have emerged into platform vendors and outcompeted powerful SoC firms from Silicon Valley. My talk will explore the underlying mechanism that made this emergence possible. Based on the case study of the core chip market of TV, I will illustrate how the two start-up Taiwanese SoC vendors came to dominate the world’s chip market only within 5 years, while rapidly catching up technologically with US firms. I argue that the “turnkey solution business model” that these firms invented to meet the technological needs of their early-stage customers (i.e., technologically inferior TV subcontractors and low-tier brand firms) came to be powerful weapons in moving up the market and penetrating into supply chains of top-tier brand firm customers.

Momoko Kawakami is a research fellow at Institute of Developing Economies, Japan. She is currently a visiting scholar at Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, University of California, Berkeley. She holds a doctoral degree in Economics from the University of Tokyo. Her research focuses on industrial and corporate development in East Asia with a special focus on Taiwan. She has published many articles and book chapters on the Taiwanese high-tech industry. Her recent book Compressed Industrial Development: the Growth of Taiwanese Notebook PC Manufacturers (The University of Nagoya Press, 2012) won the 29th Masayoshi Ohira Memorial Prize in 2013.

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