Managing global research and development in China: Patterns of R&D configuration and evolution

Jia Tao Li, Deborah R. Yue

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review

42 Citations (Scopus)


The growing internationalization of R&D activities challenges multinational corporations (MNCs) to formulate technology strategies and manage increasingly diffuse and diverse networks of R&D laboratories and alliances in the context of disparate national institutions. This paper examines the evolutionary processes of MNCs' R&D strategies in China in terms of two principal dimensions, i.e. geographic dispersion and functional focus. Based on a study of 378 international R&D centers and alliances established in China over the 1995-2001 period, we investigate the evolution of managing international R&D configurations in an emerging economy. The model is further illustrated with key findings from case studies of three leading high-tech MNCs in managing their global R&D operations in China over 1996-2004, specifically Fujitsu, Motorola and Nokia. This study contributes to the existing literature by exploring the globalization of R&D through foreign centers of scientific and technological excellence, which enables MNCs to innovate closer to their product markets and manufacturing facilities in emerging markets.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)317-338
Number of pages22
JournalTechnology Analysis and Strategic Management
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2005
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Strategy and Management
  • Management Science and Operations Research


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