Technology valuation within the context of transfer collaborations with Chinese machine tool companies
The point of departure for this study was a recognition of the differences in suppliers' and acquirers' judgements of the value of technology when transferred between the two, and the significant impacts of technology valuation on the establishment of technology partnerships and effectiveness of technology collaborations. The perceptions, transfer strategies and objectives, perceived benefits and assessed technology contributions as well as associated costs and risks of both suppliers and acquirers were seen to be the core to these differences. This study hypothesised that the capability embodied in technology to yield future returns makes technology valuation distinct from the process of valuing manufacturing products. The study hence has gone beyond the dimensions of cost calculation and price determination that have been discussed in the existing literature, by taking a broader view of how to achieve and share future added value from transferred technology. The core of technology valuation was argued as the evaluation of the 'quality' of the capability (technology) in generating future value and the effectiveness of the transfer arrangement for best use of such a capability. A dynamic approach comprising future value generation and realisation within the context of specific forms of collaboration was therefore adopted. The research investigations focused on the UK and China machine tool industries, where there are many technology transfer activities and the value issue has already been recognised in practice. Data were gathered from three groups: machine tool manufacturing technology suppliers in the UK and acquirers in China, and machine tool users in China. Data collecting methods included questionnaire surveys and case studies within all the three groups. The study has focused on identifying and examining the major factors affecting value as well as their interactive effects on technology valuation from both the supplier's and acquirer's point of view. The survey results showed the perceptions and the assessments of the owner's value and transfer value from the supplier's and acquirer's point of view respectively. Benefits, costs and risks related to the technology transfer were the major factors affecting the value of technology. The impacts of transfer payment on the value of technology by the sharing of financial benefits, costs and risks between partners were assessed. The close relationship between technology valuation and transfer arrangements was established by which technical requirements and strategic implications were considered. The case studies reflected the research propositions and revealed that benefits, costs and risks in the financial, technical and strategic dimensions interacted in the process of technology valuation within the context of technology collaboration. Further to the assessment of factors affecting value, a technology valuation framework was developed which suggests that technology attributes for the enhancement of contributory factors and their contributions to the realisation of transfer objectives need to be measured and compared with the associated costs and risks. The study concluded that technology valuation is a dynamic process including the generation and sharing of future value and the interactions between financial, technical and strategic achievements.