Asia's New High-Tech Competitors - Introduction
This report presents indicators of technological development and competitiveness in technology-based product markets for a group of Asian economies. It is a companion volume to the previously
released National Science Foundation publication Human Resources for Science and Technology: The Asian Region (NSF 93-303). That report used six economies to comprise the region -
Japan, China, India, Singapore, South Korea, and Taiwan. This report covers nine, adding Hong Kong, Indonesia, and Malaysia, since these latter economies are playing increasingly significant roles in the region's growing technology trade and
The report is divided into three sections. The first examines Asian technology development, both indigenous and that acquired from other nations.
The second section looks at the region's competitiveness, mainly through an examination of its ability to sell manufactured goods in the United States.
In the third section, the report identifies those Asian countries that seem positioned to become more prominent competitors in global high-tech markets over the next 15 years.
Throughout this report, special attention is given to firms that produce goods that incorporate advanced technologies (hereafter referred to as "high-tech firms and industries").
High-tech industries are important for several reasons:
- High-tech firms are associated with innovation. Firms that are innovative tend to gain market share, create new product markets, and/or use resources more productively;
- High-tech firms are associated with high value-added manufacturing and success in foreign markets;
- The R&D performed by high-tech industries has spillover effects. These effects benefit other commercial sectors by generating new products and processes that can lead to productivity gains, new manufacturing opportunities, and the creation of
higher wage jobs; and
- High-tech industries have also been among the fastest growing industries in the United States (see ITA 1993, p. 21, tables 3 and 4).
These characteristics underscore the importance of high-tech industries to U.S. policymakers and the need to identify and track the progress of new competitors.
For many of the indicators presented in the first two sections, U.S. data sources are used to assess the technological progress of the nine Asian economies based on their trade and technology relationships with the United States. These data allow
for cross-country analyses of the region's technology-related activities in arguably the single most important market in the world. These assessments would be strengthened, however, if more data were available on the extensive and critical
intraregional exchanges that are very much a part of Asia's technological development.
7. Data for Indonesia and Malaysia are not available for several of the indicators presented in this report. In those instances, the Asian region is defined by the remaining seven economies.