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Technology diffusion and power transition: the case of the semiconductor industry in East Asia

Guihua Ni

vol. XI(2)

Pages 55-75



Abstract: The semiconductor industry is an excellent illustration of the interaction between technology diffusion and power transition. Since the 1960s, there have been three large waves of technology transfer as well as industry transfer in East Asian countries’ semiconductor industry, where the production network acted as an essential nexus. International technology diffusion, whose channels consist of international trade and foreign direct investment, plays a primary role in the formation of the semiconductor production network in East Asia, which has a profound influence on shaping the international power structure. However, the reshaping power structure always attracts the technology exporter’s attention and provokes power competition between the dominant state and the rising power, which in turn casts negative influences on international technology diffusion. Nowadays, the third wave of technology transfer in this field has been ongoing for decades between first-movers and China, while the power competition and the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the process, which will greatly influence the power distribution in the field of the semiconductor industry and the international power structure.

Keywords: International Technology Diffusion, Power Structure, Production Network, Power Competition.



Guihua Ni
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