Towards an asymmetry-based view of Chinese firms’ technological catch-up

Research paper by Jiang Wei, Ding Wang, Yang Liu

Indexed on: 07 Nov '18Published on: 06 Nov '18Published in: Frontiers of Business Research in China


By carefully reviewing our research and related literature, in this paper, we propose a two-stage model of Chinese firms’ technological catch-up, and provide asymmetry-based explanations. We argue that at the approaching stage, Chinese firms mainly focus on knowledge accumulation through frugal innovation for capturing local and global low-end markets; while at the pole vault stage, they focus on knowledge creation through radical innovation for capturing the high-end market. Moreover, we propose that lacking world-leading technologies but striving to achieve technological catch-up quickly, Chinese firms mainly rely on asymmetric resource and capabilities that are embedded within Chinese institutional, technological and market contexts. Turning these asymmetries into sustainable capabilities and then matching them to market opportunities by developing asymmetric innovation strategies, Chinese firms could achieve technological catch-up in a unique way.