New Horizons in the Economics of Innovation series
Edited by Bengt-Åke Lundvall, Patarapong Intarakumnerd and Jan Vang
Chapter 6: Hong Kong’s Innovation System in Transition: Challenges of Regional Integration and Promotion of High Technology
Erik Baark and Naubahar Sharif INTRODUCTION In recent years Hong Kong has regained its traditional position as the key transit point for the exchange of goods and services between China and the international economy. Sophisticated and reliable intermediary services occupy a key role in maintaining this status, so Hong Kong’s future seemingly depends on the capacity of its intermediary ﬁrms to maintain a considerable share of business in Asian markets and the global economy (Meyer, 2000, p. 247). Hitherto, however, technological innovation in Hong Kong has been undervalued as an element in Hong Kong’s developmental experience and the few studies to have addressed the issue have emphasized the laissez-faire policies that shaped the process of industrialization in Hong Kong (for example Hobday, 1995). Hong Kong’s entrepreneurs have skillfully exploited technology available on the international market, but they have not generally carried out research and development for the purposes of creating proprietary technology (Davies, 1999). Technological innovation has therefore only recently begun to attract serious attention in Hong Kong, where the Government in 1998 launched a new strategy in pursuit of knowledge-intensive economic growth. Our point of departure for this chapter is the proposition that a system of innovation has been emerging in Hong Kong for at least the past century, conditioned by major economic and political upheavals at the global level accompanied by gradual institutional change at the local level. This transition in innovation has accelerated lately, as inﬂuential economic and political forces have reasserted themselves with the return...
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