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Internationalization, Technology and Services

Edited by Marcela Miozzo and Ian Miles

This book examines the way in which the increasing internationalization of services, including the operation of multinationals in this sector, interacts with the process of innovation in services. The book challenges the theoretical traditions that have developed around the analysis of service innovation and internationalization, and argues for a new research agenda. The distinguished contributors address many of the most pertinent issues and adopt a variety of theoretical and empirical approaches to enrich the debates.
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Chapter 5: Globalization, Regionalization and ‘Scales of Integration’: US IT Industry Investment in Southeast Asia

Neil M. Coe


Neil M. Coe INTRODUCTION This chapter explores the spatial complexity of transnational corporation (TNC) organizational structures through an investigation into the growth strategies of US-based IT firms in the Asia–Pacific and, in particular, Southeast Asia.1 It emerges from the continued unease some have with current definitions and conceptualizations of processes of international corporate expansion and, in particular, their applicability to processes of service activity internationalization. In definitional terms, there is still not enough clarity as to what terms such as regionalization, internationalization and globalization actually mean. Dicken et al. (1997), for example, argue that precise definitions are crucial to avoiding oversimplistic caricatures of complex processes. Equally, ‘fuzzy’ interpretations of these terms are a barrier to productive and comparable empirical research, and any subsequent policy or strategy recommendations (Markusen, 1999). In conceptual terms this chapter will make the argument that the investment strategies of TNCs are far more spatially variable and complex than is suggested in much of the contemporary international business literature. As Dicken et al. (1997, p.163) argue, ‘the real point is to recognize the diversity and complexity of the processes and structures involved as firms increasingly operate across national boundaries’. In addition, a further aim of the chapter is to consider how such conceptualizations might apply to service activities, which often do not conform to the typical manufacturing model – namely the sequential adding of value in different locations as products are assembled – that seems to underlie much of the literature on this...

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