Technological innovation capabilities in the thin film transistor-liquid crystal display industries of Japan, Korea, and Taiwan
The study described herein uses US Patent and Trademark Office data to assess variations in technological innovation capabilities, and their influence on market performance, among leading TFT-LCD producers in Japan, Korea, and Taiwan. The empirical results suggest that TFT-LCD producers in Korea and Taiwan built innovation capabilities by creating complementary knowledge for Japanese firms, whose technologies lead the way in the industry. The results also show that latecomers sought to expand production by selecting certain technological fields, but that they exploited these fields in different ways. Specifically, Korean conglomerates increased their scale of technology in order to improve their technological positions, while Taiwanese producers pursued innovations that strengthened their technological efficiency. While Japanese firms led the way in terms of both technology and market share during the 1990s, they then evolved to become merely technological leaders from 2000 onwards. However, Japanese firms have since renewed their business strategies to counter the aggressive market expansion of their competitors by strengthening the protection of their intellectual property rights through inter-keiretsu collaborations in technological niches, and by securing leadership in the market in high value-added key components in order to retain more of the profits from their own innovations. Four policy imperatives for both technology leading and latecomer countries regarding the development of sustainable industries associated with the industrial cycle and market dynamics are discussed.
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