Tiger Technology: The Creation of a Semiconductor Industry by John A. Mathews

By John A. Mathews

This publication grows out of a five-year collaborative examine undertaking undertaken by way of the authors in East Asia. they've got labored with businesses and associations in Korea, Taiwan, Singapore and Malaysia, to inquire into the micro-processes of firm-level organizational studying that underpin expertise leverage in an reminiscent of semiconductors. The methods investigated aren't particular to microchips, yet might be obvious operating in a single knowledge-intensive zone after one other. Mathews and Cho argue that certainly those are the procedures that might form commercial evolution within the twenty-first century, not only in East Asia yet within the constructed global to boot. Tiger expertise concludes with a major statement - that wealth will be generated simply as a lot via administration of expertise diffusion as via traditional issues with innovation, supplied the associations of leverage are rigorously developed.

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This is a fruitful approach that could be developed in the organisation and management literature; for an initial attempt to do so, see Mathews (1997a; 1998b). 21 As in the model of 'governed markets' (Wade 1990) or that of 'embedded autonomy' (Evans 1995). The model of'governed interdependence' (Weiss 1995; 1998) offers a flexible conceptual framework that captures the fruitful interchange between state agencies and industry actors involved in hightechnology industry creation in East Asia, and the mix of support, facilitation and discipline that characterises the evolving set of 'industry policies' and, more importantly, the implementation capacities of countries in the region.

Our argument does not look to belittle the significance of innovation, nor is it seeking to justify endless 'free riding' as a viable national strategy. Rather, we seek to demonstrate the significance of diffusion management in the high-technology industrialisation experience of countries where other explanations are lacking, and its even more widespread significance as advanced firms in advanced countries start to take up the leverage techniques for themselves. Thus although industry creation through technology leverage is undoubtedly an East Asian innovation, its applicability is not confined to East Asia.

Meanwhile Singapore, which had provided a haven for early multinational chip packaging and assembly operations moved rapidly up the value chain, and by the late 1990s boasted several multinational waferfabrication plants and its own indigenous wafer foundry, operated by the TIGER CHIPS 31 Singapore Technologies Group. At the same time Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines and China were also witnessing major investments in semiconductor activity in both low value-adding IC packaging and, prospectively, in higher value-adding IC wafer fabrication.

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