New Industries in Southeast Asia’s Late Industrialization: Evolution versus Creation - The Automation Industry in Penang (Malaysia) considered
Discourse on industry development and policy practice in late industrialization countries in East and Southeast Asia has predominantly tended to relate the emergence of new industries to ‘creation’ by the state and thereby to the role of state intervention or involvement in industrial growth and restructuring. On the other hand the role and position of (local) entrepreneurship in the genesis of new industries has been rather neglected, as little room was perceived for ‘autonomous’ development. Southeast Asian late industrialization is currently being confronted with the limits of development and expansion of specific (FDI-driven) export industries and thus with the necessity to devise new growth paths in industry (on the basis of high tech industries). This compels a reconsideration of policy practice and perceptions of modes of industry development on which it is based. In this paper we argue that a state-orchestrated ‘creation’ of priority industries is not the only possible route to new high tech industries in Southeast Asian late industrialization. This emanates from an analysis - based on field research - of the emergence and development of a recent growth industry in Malaysia, i.e. the manufacturing of automated equipment (or, automation industry) and its constituent firms in the Penang region. The analysis demonstrates that the mode of development of this industry conforms rather well to a number of notions from evolutionary economics on firm genesis and development in new industries. This suggests that successful industrial policies can be based on supporting an evolutionary ‘birth and development’ path, i.e. industry genesis and evolution as a more or less autonomous incremental process of the development of firms and their capabilities.
|Date of creation:||Dec 2006|
|Date of revision:||Dec 2006|
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