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Title: An investigation on the limited innovation performance in automotive IJVs in China
Author: Linghu, Hao
ISNI:       0000 0004 7657 9303
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2018
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China has been experiencing constraints to the sustainable development of its domestic economy in recent years due to a reliance on a low value-added oriented economy. The enhancement of innovation among local firms is, therefore, being encouraged by the Chinese government. The Chinese government regards the automotive industry as one of its strategic industries yet the local automotive firms in China still remain relatively under-developed due to a limited independent innovation capacity. Therefore, the enhancement of an indigenous innovation capacity in the automotive industry is badly needed. Favourable policies have been applied in the automotive sector in order to support the technological development of local automotive firms which includes the constraints on foreign direct investment (FDI) in the automotive sector. Automotive multinational corporations (MNCs) are strictly required to establish international joint ventures (IJVs) with local automotive firms and can own no more than a 50% share in an IJV. The logic behind this is to protect the local automotive firms and allow them access to the technological resources of the MNCs and the opportunity for organisational learning. This logic is supported by current literature as IJVs are, arguably, able to deliver innovation outputs through direct access to the resources of the parent companies and the interpartner learning effects. Despite this, real-life examples suggest a limited innovation performance in the automotive IJVs in China. The innovation achievements are largely limited to minor changes to established products and some new products based on existing technologies. Whilst there is little technological innovation apparent in the automotive IJVs in China, there is evidence of this emerging from local automotive firms without the assistance of an IJV partnership. This PhD thesis explores the underlying reasons for the gap between current academic theory and the reality in the automotive industry. Qualitative case studies of three Chinese automotive IJVs and one independent local automotive firm with a reputation for innovation were conducted to investigate the factors that limit innovation activities in automotive IJVs. The findings of this research suggest that the IJV partnership itself is a constraining factor in the context of the Chinese automotive industry. This is because the nature of automotive IJVs in China lead to a lack of strategic focus on innovation and the IJVs follow a closed innovation paradigm as they only benefit from the limited resources of their parent companies, with little or no access to other external resources. Furthermore, the mismatch of the technological capabilities causes ineffectiveness in the utilisation process of the transferred resources. This research contributes to knowledge by explaining the gap between current theories on IJV and the reality within the industry. Furthermore, a revised model of knowledge management is proposed in the context of IJVs. In light of the main research findings, recommendations are made regarding the policy and practice of using IJV partnerships for the enhancement of innovation capacity among Chinese firms.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: HD Industries. Land use. Labor