Relationships between lead firms and first-tier suppliers in global value chains (GVCs) are dynamic due to changes in competitive pressures, technological innovations and industry evolutions. This chapter examines these changes with a focus on the growing importance of a small group of large transnational first-tier suppliers in the electronics, automotive and apparel industry global value chains. Case studies on a select number of these suppliers show that through their increasing capabilities and growth in responsibilities, they are taking over and strategically influencing more functional roles in global value chains. Through an examination of supplier power and changing business dynamics between lead firms and these suppliers, this chapter points to shifting power relationships towards multi-polar governance in global value chains
Stefano Ponte, Gary Gereffi and Gale Raj-Reichert
This introductory chapter provides an overview of what global value chains (GVCs) are, and why they are important. It presents a genealogy of the emergence of GVCs as a concept and analytical framework, and some reflections on more recent developments in this field. Finally, it describes the chapter organization of this Handbook along its five cross-cutting themes: mapping, measuring and analysing GVCs; governance, power and inequality; the multiple dimensions of upgrading and downgrading; how innovation, strategy and learning can shape governance and upgrading; and GVCs, development and public policy.
Gale Raj-Reichert, Gary Gereffi and Stefano Ponte
The Epilogue of this Handbook takes stock of the state of the art of global value chain analysis in order to chart future directions for research. It outlines a number of new or forward-looking issues that are likely to become increasingly important to understand, as the ‘world of GVCs’ is changing and thus will have new and different impacts on economies, societies and environments.