ISSUE 14 - JUNE 2018
A newsletter of the Technology & Management Centre for Development<> at Oxford University


Trade In Intangibles and A Global Value Chain-based View of International Trade
This research has been published as our latest working paper. It integrates the literature on technology, international trade and global value chains, and develops an analytical framework of global trade that integrates trade-in-intangibles and trade-in-goods in the context of globalisation and fragmentation of production activities and increasing trade in intangibles. Through in-depth discussions of the five modes through which trade-in-tangibles are carried out, it develops a framework of international trade statistics from the perspective of global value chains. It argues that the global trade imbalance and policy responses to solve this should be discussed on the basis of a framework that fully incorporates the trade activities in the 21st century. It suggests policy could focus on ensuring that the benefits of trade in intangibles - which are currently concentrated in the hands of a few owners of the intangibles, along with a small community of skilled researchers and technicians who created them - are distributed more equitably. Tax avoidance by depositing these benefits at different locations globally should be curbed Read paper here<>

Reverse knowledge acquisition in emerging market MNEs: The experiences of Huawei and ZTE
This collaborative research between TMCD and colleagues from Capital University of Economics and Business, Beijing and Birmingham University was published in the Journal of Business Research. This study unpacks MNEs' external learning process and contributes to the literature by exploring three mechanisms of learning, sharing and integration. It finds three reverse learning channels, a multi-level hub-spoke type of knowledge acquiring mechanism, and a two-tier three-step integration mechanism. The authors conclude that the learning mechanism confirms knowledge acquisition driven by reverse learning behaviours; the sharing mechanism enriches the community perspective of capability building and sharing; and the integration mechanism provides an effective way of knowledge integration within the MNEs. Read the paper here<>

Scientific profits from Triple Helix interactions: Evidence from Chinese Academy of Sciences
This research was conducted by Kaihua Chen, a past visiting fellow of TMCD, Prof. Xiaolan Fu, centre director and Yi Zang. It received the Best Young Scholar Award at the recent R&D Management Workshop (14-15 April 2018) at Tshinghua University. It explores whether the scientific performance of academic institutions is influenced by their Triple Helix (TH) interactions with industries and universities. It focused specifically on, the characteristics of bilateral and trilateral interactions of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) with industries or/and universities as well as their effects on the CAS's scientific performance. The researchers found that the bilateral and trilateral interactions of these institutions not only directly and significantly improved the CAS's scientific performance but also moderately enhanced the effects of research investments on the CAS's scientific performance. They concluded that bilateral interactions within academic institutions exhibit a more positive and significant effect on scientific performance in both direct and indirect ways compared with the bilateral interactions between academic institutions and economic ones.

Competition, openness and innovation in emerging economies: The role of technology and ownership
This collaborative research between TMCD and a team of researchers from Fudan University examines innovation response of firms with different technology and ownership to domestic and openness-induced competition in emerging transition economies. Using a firm-level panel dataset from China and linked trade tariff data for the period 1998-2010, the authors find that an inverted-U relationship between domestic competition and innovation demonstrate greater resilience in innovation. However, their innovation responses to openness-induced competition differ. The decrease of sectoral input tariff significantly stimulates innovation in all types of firms. FDI exhibits the same effect except in the high-technology firms. The decrease of sectoral output tariff promotes innovation in privately-owned and high-technology firms but depresses innovation in the state-owned and low-technology firms. The authors conclude that a mixed ownership, i.e. increasing state-ownership in privately-owned firms and reducing that in state-owned firms, increases innovation in Chinese firms. Read the paper here<>

Innovation and productivity in formal and informal firms in Ghana
This research was spearheaded by TMCD under the Diffusion of Innovation in Low Income Countries <> (DILIC) Project and published in Technology Forecasting and Social Change. Xiaolan Fu, Pierre Mohnen and Giacomo Zanello argue that there is little large firm level survey based empirical evidence on innovativeness and firm performance, especially in informal establishments. The study aims to fill the literature gap by using a revised Crépon-Duguet-Mairesse (CDM) structural model to analyse data from a unique innovation survey of 501 manufacturing firms in Ghana. the authors find that innovation positively impacts the labour productivity of firms and technological innovations more than managerial innovations. Formal firms do not tend to be more productive than informal firms, but the role of innovation on productivity tends to be greater for formal firms. Read the paper here<>

Unpacking the Relationship between Outward Direct Investment and Innovation Performance: Evidence from Chinese firms
In this study, published in World Development, Xiaolan Fu, Jun Hou and Xiaohui Lui  investigate the impact of outward direct investment (ODI) by Chinese MNEs on innovation performance and the conditions under which such an impact is moderated, based on a sample of Chinese firms. The empirical evidence suggests that undertaking ODI leads to an increase in the innovation performance of these Chinese firms. The impact of ODI on innovation is contingent on firm characteristics such as in-house R&D, strategic orientation, and international experiences as well as contextual factors associated with investment destinations and industry contexts. The researchers also find that learning through ODI is a complex process. There is a substitution between ODI and in-house R&D in Chinese MNEs. Their findings suggest that conducting ODI in developed countries serves as an effective channel for latecomer firms to overcome internal resource constraints and leapfrog toward the technology frontier. Read full paper here<>.

This half-day workshop which will take place at the Saïd Business School (SBS) from 9am to 12 noon on 11 June 2018, is jointly organised by TMCD and SBS. It covers methodological advances and empirical applications in economic growth, regional development and technological change among developing economies. All are cordially invited to attend.


We are delighted to welcome two visiting fellows Dr. Anne Kingiri of the African Centre for Technology Studies (ACTS) and Dr. Abiodun Egbetokun of the National Centre for Technology Management (Federal Ministry of Science and Technology) from Kenya and Nigeria respectively. They are recipients of the Africa-Oxford Travel Grant by the University of Oxford under the Africa Oxford Initiative (AfOx).


  1.  Xiaolan Fu, Innovation under the radar, Cambridge University Press. Monograph. Forthcoming.
  2.  Xiaolan Fu, George Essegbey and Godfred Promkon, MNEs, knowledge transfer and capabilities upgrading, Edward Elgar. Monograph. Forthcoming.
  3.  Xiaolan Fu, Jin Chen, Bruce McKern, 'Oxford Handbook of China Innovation' Oxford University Press. (Edited OUP Handbook). Forthcoming.









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