Asia’s Innovation Systems in Transition

Asia’s Innovation Systems in Transition

New Horizons in the Economics of Innovation series

Edited by Bengt-Åke Lundvall, Patarapong Intarakumnerd and Jan Vang

The success of Asian economies (first Japan, then Taiwan, South Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong and, more recently, China and India) has made it tempting to look for ‘an Asian model of development’. However, the strength of Asian development lies less in strategies that reproduce successful national systems of innovation and more in the capacity for institutional change to open up new development trajectories with greater emphasis on knowledge and learning. The select group of contributors demonstrate that although there are important differences among Asian countries in terms of institutional set-ups supporting innovation, government policies and industrial structures, they share common transitional processes to cope with the globalizing learning economy.

Chapter 1: Asia’s Innovation Systems in Transition: An Introduction

Bengt-Åke Lundvall, Patarapong Intarakumnerd and Jan Vang

Subjects: economics and finance, economics of innovation, innovation and technology, economics of innovation


Bengt-Åke Lundvall, Patarapong Intarakumnerd and Jan Vang INTRODUCTION Economies in transition has become the standard term for former centrally planned economies in Eastern Europe, the former Soviet Republics and Asia. This reflects the general connotation of transition as referring to a process where there is a change of an object, concept or system from one state to another. We have borrowed this term for the title of this book – Asia’s Innovation Systems in Transition – to capture what is going on in a number of Asian countries, well aware that most of them have never been centrally planned economies. We did so because we think that transition captures quite well what is going on in the different national innovation systems analysed in this book. The transition we refer to is a process where one constellation of institutions is turning into a different constellation of institutions. With institutions we mean norms, rules and conventions, formal and explicit as well as informal and implicit. Institutions are layered into organizations and into the minds of people, and they are slow to change. In our context the institutions in focus are those related to the production, diffusion and use of knowledge. The transition may, as in the standard use of the term, involve a different balance between market, state regulation and collective versus private property. But they may also reflect a change in the relationship between knowledge producers and knowledge users or the emergence of a new mode...