The global location of R&D labs by MNCs is a rather new phenomenon; especially when it comes to establishing R&D labs in developing countries. The existing and rather limited literature on globalisation of innovation provides four possible explanations of why multinationals locate R&D labs in developing countries: reduce research costs, access large markets, tap into a large pool of qualified human resources or benefit from knowledge spillovers available in the local/regional system of innovation. The empirical research presented in this paper reveals that none of these arguments can fully explain the increasing location of R&D labs in China. The in-depth study of MNCs R&D labs in Beijing and Shanghai, China, reveals that specific aspects of market, technological and political uncertainty provide a more adequate explanation to the increasing presence of R&D labs from MNCs in developing countries such as China and thus calls for an integration in the regional innovation systems framework.
International Journal of Technology and Globalisation, 2012, Vol 6, Issue 4, p. 264-284
Innovation; globalisation; China; catching up; knowledge-intensive industries; research and development; research laboratory location; MNCs; R&D labs; developing countries; multinationals; multinational corporations; regional innovation systems.