Innovation in China is significantly affected by the state' s innovation policy. Thus, the term "Zizhu chuangxin" (indigenous innovation) is used to describe the transformation of China into a leading innovation nation. The Chinese government demands that companies contribute to this goal through innovative activities. At the same time, companies in China find themselves in very different contexts in terms of corporate performance, research and development or even cooperation in the production or innovation process. It therefore remains unclear to what extent the heterogeneity of Chinese companies is also reflected in their innovation strategies and thus in their reaction and response to the idea of indigenous innovation.
In a new paper in Technology Analysis & Strategic Management, Ingo Liefner and Sebastian Losacker discuss the concept of indigenous innovation in China against the background of current innovation policy and empirically investigate which different innovation strategies are pursued by innovative companies. To this end, the authors distinguish four types of companies: (1) low-cost producers, (2) technology-oriented producers, (3) user-oriented innovators and (4) technology-oriented innovators. On the basis of multinomial logistic regressions, it appears that investments in research and development, state funding of research and development, and cooperation with scientific institutions, among other things, help to distinguish these four groups. The theoretical discussion as well as the empirical results of the paper make an important contribution to future innovation research in China in that the authors illustrate that innovation strategies of Chinese companies are extremely heterogeneous in the context of innovation policy and the goal of indigenous innovation.
Liefner, I.; Losacker, S. (2020): Low-cost innovation and technology-driven innovation in China’s machinery industry. Technology Analysis & Strategic Management 32(3), 319-331. DOI: 10.1080/09537325.2019.1656333