Prospects for the Future
Prospects for the Future
What part will Asia play in high-technology development and sales as we move into the 21st century? Overall, the region's large and continuing investments in both science and engineering education
and R&D can be a base from which to advance its position in many high-tech areas. (See NSF 1993.) By individual economy, however, the answer will differ depending on each economy's past, current, and continuing
investments in relevant resources and infrastructure.
This section presents an assessment of future national competitiveness in high-tech industries for Asia's four newly industrialized and four emerging economies. This competitiveness is gauged
through scores on the following leading indicators:
These four indicators were designed (see box) to identify countries that have the potential to become more important exporters of high-technology products over the next 15 years. An analysis of
these indicators as applied to the eight Asian economies under consideration follows.
- National orientation - evidence that a nation is taking directed action to achieve technological competitiveness. These actions might be explicit and/or implicit national strategies involving
cooperation between the public and private sectors.
- Socioeconomic infrastructure - the social and economic institutions that support and maintain the physical, human, organizational, and economic resources essential to the functioning of a modern, technology-based industrial nation.
Evidence of this type of infrastructure might be dynamic capital markets, upward trends in capital formation, rising levels of foreign investment, and national investments in education.
- Technological infrastructure - the social and economic institutions that contribute directly to a nation's capacity to develop, produce, and market new technology. Evidence of a supportive technological infrastructure might include the
existence of a system for the protection of intellectual property rights, the extent to which R&D activities relate to industrial application, a nation's competency in high-tech manufacturing, and a nation's capability to produce qualified scientists
and engineers from the general population.
- Productive capacity - the physical and human resources devoted to manufacturing products, and the efficiency with which those resources are used. A nation's productive capacity for future high-tech production can be assessed by examining
its current level of high-tech production, including the quality and productivity of its labor force, the presence of skilled labor, and the existence of innovative management practices.
28. This indicator was called "national commitment" in Science & Engineering Indicators - 1993; here it is referred to by the term used by its