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 11: Innovating for Global Competition: Singapore’s Pathway to High-Tech Development

Henry Wai-chung Yeung

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

Extract

Henry Wai-chung Yeung INTRODUCTION The territorialization of firm-specific competitive advantages has been featured strongly in recent research in urban and regional development studies. Localized clusters become very significant spatial formations for understanding processes of economic development and technological innovation (Storper, 1997; Porter, 1998a; 1998b; Scott, 1998; Fujita et al., 1999; Scott and Storper, 2003). Clusters are defined as ‘geographic concentrations of interconnected firms, specialised suppliers, service providers, firms in related industries, and associated institutions in particular fields that compete but also cooperate’ (Porter, 1998a: 197). The emergence of clusters is not a recent phenomenon and has been recognized and explored in a wide range of literature (Hirschman, 1958; Amin and Thrift, 1994; Ellison and Glaeser, 1999; Schmitz and Nadvi, 1999; Becattini et al., 2003; Schmitz, 2004; see a recent critique in Martin and Sunley, 2003). The concept is also well explored in the geographic literature on spatial agglomerations (Malmberg and Maskell, 1997; 2002; Maskell and Malmberg, 1999). This geographic literature argues that cluster development is significantly embedded in networks of relational assets and geographical proximity particularly on local and regional scales. Such social processes as norms and conventions, collective learning, and localized capabilities help to define these specific interdependencies and subsequent territorial tendencies. When tapped by firms in specific localities, these interdependencies provide a significant source of location-based advantages through both competition and cooperation. Other researchers have developed further the concept of innovation and learning systems on regional and national scales (Lundvall,...

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