Clusters and Economic Growth in Asia

Clusters and Economic Growth in Asia

Edited by Sören Eriksson

This detailed book explores and provides insights into the development and transformation of various clusters, economies and industrial sectors in East and Southeast Asia.

Chapter 4: The rise of the biomedical cluster in Wonju, Korea

Jun Koo and Jongmin Choi

Subjects: asian studies, asian development, asian economics, asian urban and regional studies, development studies, asian development, economics and finance, asian economics, economics of innovation, geography, economic geography, innovation and technology, economics of innovation, urban and regional studies, clusters, regional economics


Since Porter’s (1990) popular book, The Competitive Advantage of Nations, the concept of industry cluster has been a mantra for many scholars as well as practitioners. In particular, despite the neoclassic economic theories that ignore the role of geography in the economic space, the geographic concentration of economic activities is the most striking empirical feature characterizing the industry cluster. The presence of fast-growing cities is strong evidence for the agglomeration phenomenon that absorbs and concentrates significant resources in one place. Cases such as Silicon Valley or the Research Triangle Park are show cases demonstrating that industry cluster-driven cities are the most important foci of national growth (Scott and Storper, 2003). Consequently, the last decade has witnessed a surge in cities that have introduced a wide variety of strategic efforts to become the next Silicon Valley or Research Triangle Park. In particular, the biomedical cluster has attracted significant attention recently. According to a recent survey of 77 state and local economic development agencies in the USA, some 83 per cent responded that the biotech-related industries are main development targets (Grudkova, 2001).

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