The book discusses the importance of global competition in biomedical and new-technology sectors to understanding international trade and investment in the twenty-first century. It argues that countries that pursue networked technonationalism (NTN) have been the most effective in improving innovation capacity and fostering frontier-industry growth. Technonationalism is state-led strategic investment in new technologies, perceived as key to national security. From the most closed system (Japan's classic technonationalism) to the most open, or technoglobal system (Singapore) technationalism exists on a continuum. A typology of knowledge and network regimes is proposed to explain variations in domestic capacities, institutions, and policy and network practices. Comparisons of human capital development (STEM education), knowledge production (scientific citations and patents), institutions supporting innovation (technology licensing organizations, incubators), and interfirm networks and international openness (inward foreign direct investment, engaging with diaspora, and immigration) elucidate distinctions.
This chapter develops a matrix that plots variations in open/tacit versus closed/codified system architectures supporting or limiting innovation capacity and new-business creation in targeted sectors. Aggregate global- and microlevel data are analyzed to identify concentrations of innovation and firm-level activity. Emerging hubs of knowledge and firm creation in biomedical industries, including biopharmaceuticals, are identified. Aggregate data is supplemented with firm-level case studies and interviews with entrepreneurs, government officials, incubation managers, and investors. The conceptual framework outlined in Chapter 1 and specified in Chapter 2 provides the lens through which innovation and entrepreneurship strategies in China, India, Japan, and Singapore are viewed. The analysis is supplemented with firm-level entrepreneurial case studies.
Japan's strengths in intellectual property production have since the 1990s failed to translate into globally competitive new-product and new-business creation. Insular institutions and business practices have created "sticky" networks. These structures, while protecting weak industries from global competition, have trapped nascent entrepreneurs and undermined human-capital development. Yet Japan remains the largest market for biomedical products and services in Asia. Its aging population is driving ever-increasing health care consumption, while the shrinking size of its working population means that growth must be based on productivity gains. These demographics provide opportunities for foreign firms and investors to enter Japan, potentially enriching Japanese networks in the future. The Japanese state has encouraged international science and technology collaborations since 2000, which has led to growth in international copatenting, a potential first step to broader internationalization and open networks.
Features of China's networked technonationalism (NTN) include aggressive science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education and entrepreneurship policies. Further, the biomedical industry has been identified by political and economic leaders as a "strategic emerging industry" and has become a focal point of state-led economic development. In contrast to Japan's insular and closed ("sticky") domestic knowledge and business networks, since the 1970s China's expatriate and diaspora returnee communities and active inward FDI have contributed to evolving globally competitive business networks. Over time, China used its growing domestic market as a lure to foreign firms from which technology appropriation can occur. However, China's population size and urban-rural disparities mean that egalitarian redistribution of new wealth has not been guaranteed in this system. Further, introduction of Western chemical pharmaceuticals threaten traditional medicine and therapies.
Decades ago, led by the technonational rhetoric of self-reliance and improvement in human health, India delayed opening its market. Consequently, India spent decades on import substitution and other exclusionary policies in a classic technonational system architecture like Japan. Later, India invested in generic-drug research and development and production capacity, complemented by advances in information technology. State-led human-capital development—for example, in the semi-independent Indian Institutes of Technologies (IITs)—targeted initially information technology and more recently has focused on biomedicine. Expatriate and diaspora returnee networks of Indian professionals, via its networked technonational architecture, since the 1990s have contributed to the development of innovative capacity and new ventures, but at a slower pace than in China.
Singapore's developmental model had to be based within its multiethnic Chinese, Indian, and Malay population and from its very inception was global in outlook. Its meritocratic Economic Development Board (EDB) and Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) tied inward FDI to domestic human-capital development and redistribution of internationally derived wealth to its domestic population. Its "guppies to whales" human-capital development programs contributed to productivity gains through attracting the region's best and brightest STEM youth and offering them citizenship. While the Singaporean city-state's small population has proven an impediment to establishing a critical mass of new technology entrepreneurs, open immigration policies have the potential to fast-track future developments. However, indigenous Singaporeans have been displaced in this process.
Chapter 7 summarizes the key findings of the book, reflecting on the framework of networked technonationalism and the conceptual typology of knowledge and networks. It compares variations in networked technonationalism as measured by variation in the knowledge and network architecture and governance regimes in China, India, Japan, and Singapore. The book concludes with theory and policy implications of networked technonationalism for Asia and the world economy.