Title: The evolution of R&D capability in multinational corporations in emerging markets: evidence from China

Authors: Meng Qi; Yi Wang; Marina Yue Zhang; Hengyuan Zhu

Addresses: Research Centre for Technological Innovation, School of Economics and Management, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084, China ' Research Centre for Technological Innovation, School of Economics and Management, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084, China ' School of Business, The University of New South Wales, UNSW Canberra, Australia ' Research Centre for Technological Innovation, School of Economics and Management, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084, China

Abstract: This paper presents a longitudinal case of Motorola's R&D subsidiary in Beijing over the period 1998-2008. Through the construction of key events and changes, the paper unfolds the evolutionary process of Motorola's R&D capability in China, and explores the mechanisms driving that evolution. We find that this R&D subsidiary evolved through four stages: from a local adaption unit performing adaptive, peripheral tasks for the local market; to a local development unit, undertaking independent product development tasks for the local market; to a global R&D centre, being a module of global projects for the global market; and finally, to a global integration centre, playing a leading and centrally-coordinating role in global projects for the global market. A balance between exploitation and exploration was achieved through temporal and domain separations, which, in turn, drove the development of the dynamics of component competences and architectural competences in the evolution.

Keywords: global R&D; R&D capability; MNCs; multinational corporations; China; emerging markets; mobile communications; R&D evolution; research and development; Motorola; MNC subsidiaries.

DOI: 10.1504/IJTM.2014.059928

International Journal of Technology Management, 2014 Vol.64 No.2/3/4, pp.210 - 231

Accepted: 09 May 2012
Published online: 19 Mar 2014 *

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