Patterns of technology upgrading – the case of biotechnology in China
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionWang, L., Chen, F. & Knell, M. (2019). Patterns of technology upgrading – the case of biotechnology in China. Asian Journal of Technology Innovation, 27(2), 152-171. 10.1080/19761597.2019.1641417
Technology upgrading is essential for emerging countries to catch up. Yet, little is known about how countries are upgrading their technologies. In this paper, we first explore the patterns of biotechnology upgrading in China and examine the specialization feature from both technological and organizational perspectives. Our results show that China has specialized in the industrial-biotech sub-field, and firms have played a key role in the development of biotech in this field. Secondly, we investigate the knowledge bases for technology upgrading. From the perspective of scientific knowledge bases, we find that there is a scientific backup for biotechnology; and that biotechnology goes hand in hand with bioscience. From the perspective of technical knowledge bases, by disaggregating the knowledge sources by countries, we find that local knowledge has become an increasingly important resource for the development of new biotechnologies in China. The increasing importance of local knowledge in the development of new biotechnologies shows that China is moving on a path from imitative to indigenous innovation.