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Regional innovation systems and the global location of innovation activities: Lessons from China


  • Yun-Chung, Chen

    () (Hong Kong University of Science and Technology)

  • Vang, Jan

    () (CIRCLE and Copenhagen Institute of Technology, Aalborg University)

  • Chaminade, Cristina

    () (CIRCLE, Lund University)


The global location of R&D centres by MNCs is a rather new phenomenon; especially when it comes to establishing R&D centres in developing countries. The existing and rather limited literature on globalization of innovation provides four possible explanations of why multinationals locate R&D departments in developing countries: reduce research costs, access large markets, tap into a large pool of qualified human resources or benefit from knowledge spillovers available in the local/regional system of innovation. The empirical research presented in this paper reveals that none of these arguments can fully explain the increasing location of R&D departments in China. The in-depth study of MNCs R&D centres in Beijing and Shanghai, China, reveals that specific aspects of market, technological and political uncertainty provide more adequate to explain the increasing presence of R&D labs from MNCs in developing countries such as China and thus calls for an integration in the regional innovation systems framework.

Suggested Citation

  • Yun-Chung, Chen & Vang, Jan & Chaminade, Cristina, 2008. "Regional innovation systems and the global location of innovation activities: Lessons from China," Papers in Innovation Studies 2008/18, Lund University, CIRCLE - Center for Innovation, Research and Competences in the Learning Economy.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:lucirc:2008_018

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    R&D centres; MNCs; developing countries; China; Regional Innovation System;

    JEL classification:

    • O30 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - General


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