Purpose – China's research and development (R&D) internationalization has grown rapidly in the 1990s. However, academic research has not kept pace with it. The purpose of this paper is to study the development characteristics and evolution pattern of China's R&D internationalization, explore its challenges to China's traditional science and technology (S&T) system, and to give some suggestions for the reform of China's S&T system as well. Design/methodology/approach – An in‐depth case study about Huawei is conducted by focusing on its strategy and development pattern of overseas R&D activities. It involves two methods of data collection: comprehensive interviews and administrative records and documents of the company. More information about China's R&D internationalization and S&T system is obtained through literature review, policy documents collection and a previous questionnaire survey of 28 leading Chinese firms. Findings – Based on the literature review, previous survey and study of the strategy and development of R&D internationalization of Huawei, a three‐stage model is proposed to explain the evolution of R&D internationalization in China. The challenges to the traditional S&T system in China are summarized. In the future, R&D internationalization should be considered as an important factor in the reform of China's S&T system. Some suggestions are given as well. Originality/value – This paper puts forward a three‐stage model to explain the evolution of R&D internationalization in China, which may add both academic and practical value to the field of internationalization of R&D. It brings some valuable implications to the reform of China's S&T system as well. This paper analyzes the challenges and opportunities brought by R&D internationalization to China's S&T system on the basis of case study and policy documents collection. The suggestions of the reform of China's S&T system are presented.
Journal of Science and Technology Policy in China – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jul 26, 2011
Keywords: Internationalization; Multinationals; Huawei; S&T system; China; Research and development
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