CUED Publications database

Latecomer strategy to catch-up: The implications from Taiwan's TFT-LCD manufacturing industry

Zhang, W and Shi, Y and Wu, X (2010) Latecomer strategy to catch-up: The implications from Taiwan's TFT-LCD manufacturing industry. Journal of Science and Technology Policy in China, 1. pp. 234-253. ISSN 1758-552X

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Purpose: This paper aims to answer two research questions: what latecomer advantages and disadvantages they had, and what strategies they employed to utilize the advantages or to surmount the disadvantages. Design/methodology/approach: After reviews of the literatures on latecomers' characteristics and the notable rise of Taiwanese thin-film transistor liquid crystal display (TFT-LCD) panel manufacturers in the global manufacturing contexts, this research project combined secondary industrial sector data analysis and individual company case study (AUO Ltd) approaches in order to build a conceptual framework and identify latecomers' (dis)advantages. Findings: This paper advances the existing literature on latecomer advantages and disadvantages by reviewing the spectacular rise of Taiwanese TFT-LCD panel manufacturers and reveals the importance of some unexplored source of latecomer advantage such as the competition dynamics which is proved to be vital for Taiwanese firms to successfully penetrate into the market. The paper finds the influence of technological regime and argues that the incremental technological advance rather than radical innovation provides latecomers with opportunity to utilize the learning curve effect. It has also discovered new forms of latecomer advantages, for example the free-rider effect of improved equipment due to suppliers' own learning curve. This paper illustrates the necessity of adequate exploration on technology and product features to understand firms' strategic behaviors. Moreover, the subtle tactics found in this case study may enlighten other latecomers. Research limitations/implications: The study leaves a number of questions unanswered which warrant more attention. First, the theoretical arguments and experiences from this single case are not easily extendable to the other industries. Broader investigation should be helpful to discover the mechanism between latecomer advantage, strategy and performance. Second, the study of latecomer (dis)advantages and strategies should take the firm features into account to get a whole picture. Third, the examination of interactions between latecomer (dis)advantages and more detailed analytical framework are needed. Originality/value: Although latecomers' characteristics and strategies have been discussed for many years since Asia economy emerged, TFT-LCD industry is a relatively new and fast growing industry. How can a latecomer play an important role in emerging industry growing phase? This is novel in contrast with classical latecomer's model in established industry. © Emerald Group Publishing Limited.

Item Type: Article
Divisions: Div E > Manufacturing Systems
Depositing User: Cron Job
Date Deposited: 17 Jul 2017 19:23
Last Modified: 02 Mar 2021 08:03
DOI: 10.1108/17585521011083120