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Value Capture in the Global Electronics Industry: Empirical Evidence for the “Smiling Curve” Concept


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This research asks who captures the greatest value in the global electronics industry by testing the concept of the “smiling curve”, which predicts that the greatest value is captured by upstream and downstream firms, and the lowest value is captured in the middle of the value chain. We test the concept using the Electronic Business 300 data-set for 2000–2005. We find that lead firms and component suppliers earn higher gross margins and net margins compared to contract manufacturers. However, the differences are minimal for return on assets (ROA) and return on equity (ROE). We also find that active component suppliers gain higher profits than passive component suppliers. These findings suggest that the smiling curve is right if value is defined in terms of gross margins, but the cost of sustaining a position on either end of the curve is so high that returns on investment are similar across the curve.
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Research Paper
Value Capture in the Global
Electronics Industry: Empirical
Evidence for the “Smiling Curve”
*Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems, Pace University, New York, USA
**University of California, Irvine, USA, Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York, USA
ABSTRACT This research asks who captures the greatest value in the global electronics industry by
testing the concept of the “smiling curve”, which predicts that the greatest value is captured by upstream and
downstream firms, and the lowest value is captured in the middle of the value chain. We test the concept using
the Electronic Business 300 data-set for 2000 –2005. We find that lead firms and component suppliers earn
higher gross margins and net margins compared to contract manufacturers. However, the differences are
minimal for return on assets (ROA) and return on equity (ROE). We also find that active component suppliers
gain higher profits than passive component suppliers. These findings suggest that the smiling curve is right if
value is defined in terms of gross margins, but the cost of sustaining a position on either end of the curve is so
high that returns on investment are similar across the curve.
KEY WORDS: Electronics industry, value chain, smiling curve, lead firm, component supplier
1. Introduction
In today’s global electronics industry, companies outsource production and even product
development to global networks of contract manufacturers (CMs), original design
manufacturers (ODMs) and component suppliers. In such global production networks, value
created from a successful product is distributed not only to a lead firm, usually the company
whose brand appears on the product, but also to partners in the firm’s value chain, such as
componentsuppliers as well as CMs/ODMs. While the lead firm captures a significant portion of
1366-2716 Print/1469-8390 Online/12/020089 –19 q2012 Taylor & Francis
Correspondence Address: Namchul Shin, Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems, Pace
University, 163 William Street, New York, NY 10038, USA. Tel.: þ1 212 346 1067; Fax: þ1 212 346 1863; Email:
Industry and Innovation,
Vol. 19, No. 2, 89–107, February 2012
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the value by focusing on the creation, penetration and defense of markets for the product, other
firms also benefit by pursuing core technological innovations and offering complementary
products or services. Since no single company is the source of all innovations, a leadfirm works
closely with global partners to bring new products to market (Linden et al.,2009).
This paper addresses the question of who captures the greatest value in such global value
chains by empirically testing the “smiling curve” concept in the electronics industry. The smiling
curve (Shih, 1996; Everatt et al., 1999) or the smile of value creation (Mudambi, 2008) repre-
sents a pattern of value-added along the value chain. It predictsthat higher value is added both
upstream (at the input end) and downstream (at the output end), with the lowest value-added in
the middle of the value chain. From the firm’sperspective, however, the goal is not to add value
but to capture value in the form of profits. Thus, this research examines whether the “smiling
curve” concept can be applied to value captured by firms ineach part of the global value chain.
This research can inform us about the importance of position in the value chain for the
profitability of firms, and also for the financial benefits to countries participating in global
value chains. Thus, beyond the question of which firms capture more value, we also raise a
question about the value captured by countries, particularly between advanced and
emerging economies. Given that there tend to be more lead firms and component suppliers
in advanced economies, the smiling curve would predict that the value captured by firms in
these economies is higher than that by firms in newly emerging economies, which tend to
specialize more in labor-intensive assembly.
We hypothesize these relationships and test the hypotheses by using data from the
Electronic Business 300 data-set. We find that lead firms and component suppliers capture
more value as measured by gross margin and net margin, compared to various contract
manufacturers (e.g. CMs/ODMs). We also find that active component suppliers gain higher
profits than passive component suppliers
and that firms based in advanced economies earn
higher value in terms of gross margins, compared to firms based in emerging economies. Our
findings suggest that high levels of innovation, sales and marketing, and branding can build
barriers to entry and help firms capture higher profits in global production networks.
In the next section, we describe the concept of the “smiling curve”, analyze the concept
based on resource-based theory, dynamic capabilities and industrial economics, and propose
hypotheses. Section 3 describes our research methods and data sources. We present our
results in Section 4. Implications of the results and conclusions are provided in Section 5.
2. Theoretical Background
2.1 The Concept of the Smiling Curve
A firm’s value chain activities can be broadly grouped into three categories: the upstream
(input), the downstream (output or market) and the middle (Mudambi, 2007, 2008). While
Value capture, which can be indicated by gross profit, does not equal value-added because it excludes the amount
of wages for direct labor (workers who are involved in production, that is, converting inputs to a salable product). Gross
profit estimates the value a company captures from its role in the value chain, which it can use to reward shareholders
(dividends), invest in future growth (R&D), cover the cost of capital depreciation and pay its overhead expenses
(marketing and administration) (Linden et al., 2009).
The classification of active and passive components is described in Section 3.1.
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upstream activities comprise design, basic and applied R&D, downstream activities typically
comprise marketing, distribution, brand management and after-sales services. Activities in
the middle comprise manufacturing, assembly and other repetitious processes in which
commercialized prototypes are implemented on a mass scale.
Based on his analysis of the computer industry’s value chain, Acer founder Stan Shih
(1996) argued that the value-added curve of the industry takes a smiling shape. The smiling
curve shows that while higher value is created by both upstream and downstream firms
(located at both the left and right side of the curve), such as component suppliers and lead
firms, system assembly firms (located in the middle) add the lowest value (Figure 1).
According to Shih, the major factors determining the level of value-added are entry barriers
and accumulation of capability: the higher the entry barriers and the greater the
accumulation of capabilities, the higher the value-added.
For example, the establishment of
a brand name business in microprocessor manufacturing comes with high entry barriers
such as intellectual property and brand equity, and requires many years of investment in
R&D and marketing (branding), respectively. On the other hand, entry barriers and switching
costs are lower for computer assembly because it is relatively easy to build the needed
capabilities and therefore subject to rapid imitation and intense competition. In fact, Acer
itself spun off its ODM business as a separate company, called Wistron, and concentrated
its own efforts on developing its brand name business in order to avoid the commodity
assembly trap.
This research employs the resource-based theory and dynamic capabilities approach
as well as industrial organization to analyze the concept. These theoretical approaches look
at entry barriers but with different foci. Industrial organization focuses on industry forces,
whereas the resource-based theory and dynamic capabilities approach focuses on
resources and capabilities (difficult to replicate), respectively. However, they are closely
related, and our research emphasizes the resource-based theory and dynamic capabilities
2.2 Barriers to Entry: Resources and Dynamic Capabilities
Industrial organization economics considers entry barriers as the fundamental prerequisite
for market power that confers large profits (monopoly rents) (Baumol et al., 1982). It focuses
on the external environment, emphasizing industry attractiveness as the primary basis for
superior profitability. Observing that competition for profits goes beyond direct competitors,
Porter (1980) extends the concept of industry rivalry based on five competitive forces that
include customers, suppliers, potential entrants, substitute products and direct competitors.
He argues that this extended rivalry defines an industry’s structure and shapes the nature of
Although Shih uses value-added for the “smiling curve” concept, he implicitly seems concerned with sustainable
incomes (value capture) that are delivered to firms positioning themselves in different ways in global value chains.
Acer, a leading manufacturer of notebook and desktop computers, spun off its contract manufacturing service unit
as Wistron in 2001 when its sales were slumping in a weakening computer hardware market. By separating its branded
and contract manufacturing operations, Acer could focus on its branded computer product operations. More recently,
Asustek announced in December 2009 its plans to spin off its contract manufacturing unit as Pegatron Technology.
The company was looking to focus more on creating its own branded line of business. In each case, the spinoff
company was free to pursue other customers and gain economies of scale.
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competition within an industry; thus, firms should analyze their external environment,
choose strategies that give them competitive advantage in that environment and then
acquire the resources needed to implement their strategies. However, he places little
emphasis on the importance of idiosyncratic firm attributes (e.g. resources) for a firm’s
competitive advantage.
By contrast, the resource-based theory suggests that in a rapidly changing environment
in which customer demand is volatile, and technology is continually evolving, an externally
focused orientation does not provide a secure foundation for formulating long-term strategy
(Barney, 1991).
Although Porter tends to emphasize strategic positioning in terms of cost
leadership, differentiation and focus as the primary source for superior profitability,
fundamental to strategic choices is the resource position of the firm: a firm gains and
sustains large profits from resources that are rare, valuable, hard to imitate and immobile
(Grant, 1991). Grant argues that barriers to entry are built up by resources that incumbent
firms possess such as scale economies, patents, brand value and customer relationships,
which new entrants can acquire only slowly or at disproportionate expense. Barney (1991)
also argues that barriers to entry exist when competing firms are heterogeneous in terms of
the strategic resources they control.
While resources include firms’ tangible and intangible assets, capabilities refer to a
firm’s ability to appropriately deploy, coordinate and integrate its resources for production
(Grant, 1991; Teece et al., 1997; Coombs and Bierly, 2006). The dynamic capabilities
R&D Product-level R&D,
marketing and branding
Passive components:
capacitors and resistors
Component suppliers CMs/ODMs Lead firms
Active components:
key integrated circuits
hard drives
visual displays
Figure 1. Smiling curve: adapted from Shih (1996)
The resource-based theory is related to the work of David Ricardo (1891), Joseph Schumpeter (1934) and Edith
Penrose (1959). The returns to the resources that confer competitive advantage are referred to as Ricardian rents,
compared to monopoly rents, that is, the returns to market power (Grant, 1991).
Cost leadership, differentiation and focus are proposed by Porter (1980) as a set of generic strategies that can
help firms gain competitive advantage in an industry.
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approach explains the sources of competitive advantage over time in competitive markets
(Teece and Pisano, 1994; Teece et al., 1997). It emphasizes firm capabilities (difficult to
replicate) for superior firm performance, which enable firms to sense changing customer
demands and technological opportunities, seize the opportunities by developing new
products through investments in tangible and intangible resources, and maintain
competitiveness through enhancing, integrating, protecting and reconfiguring those
resources (Teece, 2007). According to Teece (2007), in the fast changing global economy
characterized by open innovation, outsourcing and offshoring, particularly in high-technology
sectors, sustainable advantage requires more than the ownership of difficult-to-replicate
knowledge assets. It also requires unique and difficult-to-replicate dynamic capabilities.
Chesbrough (2003) argues that as sources of innovation are geographically dispersed, firms
reach out beyond their boundaries to access and integrate technology developed by others
(i.e. open up technological opportunities through engaging in R&D and tapping into the
research output of others).
Knowledge integration capability is critical for superior firm performance in such an
open innovation environment, illustrated by the computer industry (Iansiti and Clark, 1994).
Brusoni et al. (2001) argue that multi-technology firms, such as computer firms, need to
have knowledge in excess of what they need for what they make. They outsource
manufacturing while focusing on in-house concept design and system integration
capabilities to coordinate the work of suppliers, who do new technology development and
manufacturing. Knowledge assets embodied in people and organizational routines are not
tradable and are hard to replicate in a market; thus, the creation, protection, integration and
leverage of such intangible assets is critical for firms to achieve superior firm performance
and avoid the zero-profit trap (Teece, 2007).
Morrison et al. (2008) argue that complex and tacit knowledge may affect the balance of
power and the pattern of governance in global value chains. According to them, buyers (or in
our case, lead firms and branded firms) are undisputed leaders since they coordinate and
govern global value chains, based on knowledge of the whole product system as well as
concept design, branding, marketing and system integration capabilities. Gereffi (1994)
argues that global buyers can and do exert a high degree of control (or power) over spatially
dispersed value chains by building global scale production and distribution systems without
direct ownership. They manage such globally fragmented production networks and bring
together all the pieces of the business into an integrated whole, for example, understand
customer needs and integrate upstream (or component) innovations into new product
On the upstream end, component suppliers also can generate sustainable high profits
by possessing valuable resources such as intellectual property, superior design skills and
the ability to commercialize new technologies (Gereffi, 2001; Gereffi et al., 2005). Some
suppliers of key components and technologies, such as Intel, Qualcomm, TI and Nvidia, are
Teece (2007) argues that supra competitive returns are earned through dynamic capabilities that enable
entrepreneurship, innovation, semi-continuous asset orchestration, resource combinations and reconfiguration. The
returns to dynamic capabilities are referred to as Schumpeterian rents, compared to Ricardian rents, that is, the
returns to resources.
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able to earn higher profits by controlling key standards, thereby holding dominant positions
in some segments of the industry (Shin et al., 2009).
By contrast, firms in the middle of the value chain are not in a position to develop unique
intellectual property, control key product standards, or develop strong brand names or
customer relationships. They must compete largely on cost and operational excellence, and
find it difficult to build any barriers to entry or create switching costs for their customers. Thus,
we argue that in today’s highly competitive global electronics industry, lead firms and
component suppliers are in a better position to develop valuable resources, build barriers to
entry and capture greater value. These theoretical arguments lead to the following hypothesis:
Hypothesis 1: Firms both at the upstream and downstream ends, such as component
suppliers and brand name vendors, capture higher value than firms in the
middle, such as CMs/ODMs.
2.3 Value Capture by Type of Component
Shih (1996) argues that the level of value-added from component manufacturing (activities at
the upstream end of the value chain) differs by the types of components.
Active components,
such as integrated circuits, visual displays and hard drives, generally require large capital
investments and high-level manufacturing capabilities. These components are highly
specialized, compared to passive components, such as capacitors and resistors, or printed
circuit boards (e.g. motherboards), which are more standardized.
Active components are
capable of a greater degree of differentiation and perhaps even branding, such as the “Intel
inside” branding campaign. Performance aspects of active components are likely to be more
visible to the final customers than other components. For example, most customers would
recognize the difference between 50GB and 500GB hard drive while few would recognize
the implications of improvements in the performance of capacitors or resistors. Therefore,
active components are at the higher left side of the curve while passive components are lower
on the curve. Shih (1996) ranked the level of value-added from component manufacturing in
the following order (from high to low): software, microprocessor, DRAM, LCD, ASIC, monitor,
HDD and motherboard. Therefore, we propose the following hypothesis:
Hypothesis 2: Firms manufacturing active components capture higher value than firms
manufacturing passive components.
2.4 Value Capture by Country
According to Mudambi (2008), firms from advanced economies, those from emerging
economies and those from recently developed countries are all conforming to the smiling
According to Sturgeon (2003), since standards and protocols are dynamic, major advantages accrue to companies
that actively participate in the rule-setting process, which favors established firms and locations. Most other value
chain participants, such as CMs/ODMs, must adjust to the rules (or parameters) developed by those firms.
We are grateful to anonymous reviewers for helping to clarify this discussion.
Active components are those that require electrical power to operate. This could include the power supply, fans,
storage device, transistors, diodes and other integrated circuits. Passive components such as the chassis, capacitors
or enclosures do not require electrical power to operate.
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curve: high-value activities at the downstream and upstream ends are largely concentrated in
advanced economies, while low-value activities in the middle of the value chain are moving
(or have moved) to emerging economies (Gereffi, 1999; Smakman, 2003; Pyndt and
Pedersen, 2006). Firms based in advanced economies (so-called insiders), such as the Triad
of North America, Europe and Japan, are more likely to capture higher value, compared to
firms based in emerging economies such as Taiwan, China and Korea (Spencer, 2003;
Mudambi, 2008; Shin et al., 2009).
These established players were earlier entrants and
established barriers to entry in many high-value segments of the industry. They continually
innovate in order to maintain their competitive advantage, while startups such as Qualcomm,
Broadcom and Nvidia have become highly profitable as fabless chip designers. A few
emerging country firms have been able to develop successful brand names (e.g. Samsung,
LG, Acer, HTC, Huawei) or compete in certain component markets (e.g. Samsung in memory
chips and displays), but these are the exception. The innovations in developed countries are
increasingly design driven, recognizing the highly diverse needs of individual markets. All
these firms’ design strategies are aimed at buttressing and enhancing the value of their
brands (Mudambi, 2008). Hence, we propose the following hypothesis:
Hypothesis 3: Firms based in advanced economies capture higher value than firms in
emerging economies.
3. Research Methods
In order to test the hypotheses proposed in the previous section, we employ the one-way
analysis of variance (ANOVA—F-test) procedure, the non-parametric
(Kruskal and
Wallis) and median tests.
Although the one-way ANOVA is a method of our choice for testing for differences
between multiple groups, it assumes that the variances of the groups are equal and that the
distribution of the test variable is reasonably normal. ANOVA is robust to unequal variances
when the groups are of equal or near equal size. However, when both the variances and the
sample sizes differ, we may need to transform the data (for example, the log transformation)
or perform a non-parametric test (Norusis, 2004). Non-parametric procedures are designed
to test for the significance of the difference between multiple groups when the assumptions
of ANOVA are invalid or suspect. They make no assumptions about the mean and variance
of a distribution, nor do they assume that any particular distribution is being used (Conover,
1980; Siegel and Castellan, 1988; Norusis, 2004). We employ the non-parametric
(Kruskal and Wallis) and median tests for the robustness of our analysis.
3.1 Data Sources and Coding
This study employs two data sources: the Electronic Business (EB) 300 data-set and the
Hoovers database for the six years from 2000 to 2005. The EB 300 data-set includes
Korea, and to an extent Taiwan, might be somewhere in between, as they have some major brand name companies
like Samsung and Acer. They are also major suppliers of high-value components like LCDs and DRAM although they
do not compete in software, microprocessors and specialized chips such as graphics. Taiwan and Korea also have far
higher GDP per capita than China and most of South East Asian countries.
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the top 300 electronics firms ranked by electronics revenue. The electronics revenue is
derived from segmentation information and Reed Research estimates (Electronic Business,
2006). It includes revenue from the sale, service, license or rental of electronics/computer
equipment, software or components. Data items such as sales, cost of goods sold (COGS),
return on equity (ROE), return on assets (ROA), R&D expense and the number of
employees are obtained from the Hoovers database for the same firms included in the EB
300 data-set.
For measures of value capture, we use gross profit (net sales minus cost of goods sold,
which combines the wage bill with the cost of purchased inputs) and gross margin (the ratio
of gross profit to net sales). We also employ net margin, ROA and ROE to measure a
company’s bottom-line financial performance.
Since we focus on three types of firms in the global electronics industry as lead firms,
CMs/ODMs and component suppliers, we select only the firms operating in the following four
industries: computer and peripheral equipment manufacturing, communications equipment
manufacturing, audio and video equipment manufacturing, and semiconductor and other
electronic component manufacturing.
The selection is based on the four-digit North
American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code. The NAICS codes for the above
four industries are 3341, 3342, 3343 and 3344, respectively.
We code these firms as lead firms, CMs/ODMs or component suppliers. Lead firms are
branded firms at the head of a value chain and closest to distribution and retail. We only
include firms if they can be classified as “pure” lead firm, CM/ODM or component supplier.
Then, we classify component suppliers further into two categories: active and passive
component suppliers.
A passive component refers to a component that consumes energy,
but does not produce power. An active component is a component that produces power by
consuming energy. We use the Yearbook of World Electronics Data (2003) for the
classification. Active components include most key components, such as visual displays,
hard drives and key integrated circuits. On the other hand, passive components include
such components as capacitors, resistors, connectors and motherboards.
We also code these firms as firms based in advanced economies (insiders) and firms
based in emerging economies (outsiders). Our samples include firms in 14 different
countries, such as the USA, Canada, Germany, Switzerland, Netherlands, Finland,
Sweden, France, Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong and China. We
classify North American, European and Japanese firms into firms in advanced economies,
and other Asian firms into firms in emerging economies. The sample includes 622
observations for the six years from 2000 to 2005. The sample statistics are shown in Table 1.
Other industry segments are left out because most firms in those segments cannot be classified as pure lead firms,
CMs/ODMs or component suppliers, and electronic revenue of those firms does not equal total revenue. Highly
integrated firms or large conglomerates are not included since they have mixed sales figures such as sales from brand
products, from contract manufacturing and from components.
We compared the sample firms (622 observations for 2000– 2005) and omitted firms (1,178 observations for 2000–
2005) in terms of electronic revenue, gross margin, net margin, ROA and ROE. By conducting the ANOVA, the non-
and median tests, we found that the omitted firms were not systematically different from the sample
firms for all of the measures.
We only include firms that can be classified as pure active and passive component suppliers. Diversified firms, as
well as other types of firms, such as contract component manufacturers and storage firms are excluded.
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Table 1. Sample statistics (2000 2005)
Lead firms CMs/ODMs Component suppliers
Variables Mean Std. dev. Obs. Mean Std. dev. Obs. Mean Std. dev. Obs.
Sales (millions) 11,069.5 15,010.6 204 5,398.6 4,925.5 112 3,424.1 4,573.0 306
Gross profit (millions) 4,275.6 5,053.2 160 719.2 1,783.5 74 1,321.1 2,720.8 275
Gross margin (%) 31.90% 14.12% 160 10.67% 14.22% 74 32.29% 16.65% 275
Net profit (millions) 74.0 2,820.5 204 227.8 589.2 106 31.7 3,523.3 304
Net margin (%) 0.61% 17.95% 204 20.44% 8.83% 106 1.25% 24.63% 304
ROA (%) 0.97% 18.57% 163 0.04% 12.01% 94 20.10% 31.47% 293
ROE (%) 27.51% 154.2% 162 22.24% 35.51% 90 24.11% 101.5% 284
R&D expense (millions) 1,163.2 1,435.8 159 45.4 51.3 48 445.0 746.2 232
R&D ratio (% of sales) 8.36% 5.72% 159 0.90% 1.17% 48 11.38% 7.71% 232
S&GA costs (% of sales) 19.17% 7.64% 156 5.08% 5.92% 71 12.56% 6.48% 273
Employees (thousands) 35.0 36.2 160 28.7 35.4 92 16.6 16.4 274
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4. Results
4.1 Comparison of Lead Firms, Component Suppliers and CMs/ODMs
Our results show that value captured by the three types of firms (lead firms, component
suppliers and CMs/ODMs) are significantly different for gross margin, gross profit and net
margin (Table 2): lead firms and component suppliers earn profits higher than CMs/ODMs. All
three test statistics of ANOVA (except for net margin), non-parametric
and median tests
are significant at a level of 0.001. However, the differences are minimal for ROA. On the other
hand, CMs/ODMs perform better than lead firms and component suppliers in terms of ROE
although it is negative for all three types of firms. The non-parametric
and median tests are
significant at levels of 0.10 and 0.05, respectively. Our results also show that lead firms and
component suppliers spend more on selling and general administration (S&GA) expense and
invest more in R&D, compared to CMs/ODMs.
Positioned close to the consumer markets in the global value chain, lead firms specialize in
high value-added activities such as R&D, product design, marketing and branding. They may
have a well-known brand, better marketing and sales capabilities, and a keen understanding of
Table 2. ANOVA, non-parametric
(Kruskal–Wallis) and median test results (2000 2005)
NMean F
Median test (
Gross margin Lead firms 160 32.3% 60.320*** 131.887*** 77.370***
CMs/ODMs 74 10.7%
Comp. suppliers 275 31.9%
Ln(gross profit) Lead firms 160 7.57 65.776*** 88.832*** 40.567***
CMs/ODMs 74 5.91
Comp. suppliers 272 6.54
Net margin Lead firms 204 0.61% 0.271 18.340*** 19.816***
CMs/ODMs 106 20.44%
Comp. suppliers 304 1.25%
ROA Lead firms 163 0.97% 0.096 4.236 2.792
CMs/ODMs 94 0.04%
Comp. suppliers 293 20.10%
ROE Lead firms 162 27.51% 0.074 4.617
CMs/ODMs 90 22.24%
Comp. suppliers 284 24.11%
R&D/sales Lead firms 159 8.36% 51.909*** 116.291*** 59.810***
CMs/ODMs 48 0.90%
Comp. suppliers 232 11.38%
Ln(R&D) Lead firms 157 5.97 61.860*** 89.110*** 50.051***
CMs/ODMs 47 3.30
Comp. suppliers 232 5.35
S&GA/sales Lead firms 156 19.17% 111.625*** 185.980*** 113.038***
CMs/ODMs 71 5.08%
Comp. suppliers 273 12.56%
Notes: ROA ¼return on assets; ROE ¼return on equity; S&GA ¼selling and general administration expense.
The log transformation of net profit is not used because the number of observations with a negative value is high.
***p,0.001; *p,0.05;
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customers, compared to CMs/ODMs (Shin et al., 2009). Component suppliers, particularly
suppliers of visual displays, hard drives or key integrated circuits, invest heavily in R&D and
pursue high levels of innovation by embodying proprietary knowledge, compared to
CMs/ODMs. Such capabilities as branding (for lead firms) and R&D (for component suppliers)
create entrybarriers and help lead firms and component suppliers gain higherprofits. However,
the costs of conducting R&D, sales and marketing can negatively affect both lead firms’ and
component suppliers’ bottom-line financial performance. Net margins are still higher for lead
firms and component makers than for CMs/ODMs, but while the difference is statistically
significant, it is very small in practical terms. Lead firms and component makers both earn
average grossmargins of about 32 per cent,compared to 10 per cent for CMs/ODMs. However,
the net margins are 0.61, 1.25 and 20.44 per cent, respectively (Table2). We do not detect any
significant differences in ROA among the three types of firms, and ROE is higher for CMs/
ODMs, compared to lead firms and component suppliers. The reason might be that in contrast
to ROA and ROE, net margin is not dependent on differences in asset intensity or equity (or
debt) financing.
More significant from an investment perspective is the fact that ROE is
negative for all three groups, illustrating how brutally competitive the electronics industry is.
Figure 2 depicts the means of gross margins of lead firms, component suppliers and
CMs/ODMs. Interestingly, the shape of the mean plot is similar to the “smiling curve” shown
in Figure 1.
Figure 3 shows the mean plot for ROA, along with the mean plot for gross margin, for
the three types of firms. The shape of the mean plot for ROA is somewhat distorted (tilted
“smiling curve”), compared to the mean plot for gross margin.
Figure 4 shows the mean plot for ROE, along with the mean plot for gross margin, for
the three types of firms. The shape of the mean plot for ROE looks the reverse of the “smiling
As mentioned earlier in Section 2.1, some lead firms, such as Acer and Asustek,
separated their branded and contract manufacturing operations in order to focus more on
their branded product operations. Motorola also spun off its upstream component business
(chip fabrication) as Freescale Semiconductor, and outsourced more of its production. Such
a strategy is consistent with our findings.
In order to directly examine if the spinoffs of these lead firms capture more value, we
analyze the post-spinoff performance of Acer and Motorola.
Our results show that the
Our results for ROE might be influenced by the high leverage of CMs/ODMs. Since the leverage of those firms can
be higher than lead firms and component suppliers, we analyze the differences of the debt-to-equity ratio for the three
types of firms. The non-parametric median test shows that the debt-to-equity ratio is significantly higher for
CMs/ODMs, compared to lead firms and component suppliers. However, the results are insignificant for the one-way
ANOVA test and opposite for the Kruskal –Wallis
The lines are straight because the figure plots the means of gross margins of the three types of firms categorized into
discrete variables.
The differences in results between ROA and ROE look strange since the two measures are closely related. ROE can
be decomposed into: ROE ¼net income/equity ¼net income/assets (ROA) £assets/equity (leverage). Therefore,
when ROA increases, ROE may increase. However, ROE is also affected by leverage. Figure 4 shows the impact of
the leverage of CMs/ODMs (please refer to footnote 15).
We do not include Asustek in the analysis since its spinoff was announced fairly recently (December 2009). It would
be interesting if future studies conduct the analysis with more firms, including not only lead firms, but also component
suppliers, which have spun off their contract manufacturing or fabrication operations.
Value Capture in the Global Electronics Industry 99
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companies’ bottom-line financial performance has significantly improved after the spinoffs
(Table 3). Acer’s performance improved in 2002 after spinoff: ROA (from 0.9 to 7.9 per cent),
ROE (from 1.7 to 13.0 per cent) and net margin (from 0.9 to 8.1 per cent). The performance
of Motorola has also improved in 2005 after spinoff: ROA (from 5.0 to 12.8 per cent), ROE
(from 11.5 to 27.5 per cent) and net margin (from 4.9 to 12.4 per cent). We also compare the
post-spinoff performance of the two lead firms to the firms spun off (i.e. Acer vs. Wistron and
Motorola vs. Freescale Semiconductor). Using the performance of three-year averages, we
found that these lead firms (Acer and Motorola) have outperformed the spun-off firms
(Wistron and Freescale Semiconductor), respectively, in terms of ROA, ROE and net
margin. The comparison of the post-spinoff performance is shown in Table 4.
Mean of
gross margin
Component suppliers Lead firmsCMs/ODMs
Figure 2. Mean plot for gross margin
Mean of gross margin (Black)
Component suppliers Lead firmsCMs/ODMs
Mean of ROA (Red)
Figure 3. Mean plots for ROA and gross margin
100 N. Shin et al.
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4.2 Comparison of Active and Passive Component Suppliers
Table 5 shows that value captured by active and passive component suppliers is
significantly different in terms of gross margin and gross profit: active component suppliers
gain higher profits than passive component suppliers. All three test statistics of ANOVA,
and median tests are significant at a level of 0.001. However, the
differences are not significant for net margin and ROA. Passive component suppliers
perform better than active component suppliers when ROE is employed as a performance
measure (except for the median test).
Our results also show that active component suppliers invest heavily in R&D, compared
to passive component suppliers. Such heavy investment in R&D enables active component
suppliers to introduce new components to market and charge a high premium, thus earning
higher gross profits. However, these higher margins are negated by the cost of conducting
R&D, so their bottom-line financial performance measured as net margin and ROA is not
significantly different from passive component suppliers, and their returns on equity are even
lower than the ones for passive component suppliers.
Mean of gross margin (Black)
Component suppliers Lead firmsCMs/ODMs
Mean of ROE (Red)
Figure 4. Mean plots for ROE and gross margin
We ran a regression analysis to examine the impact of R&D on gross profit, ROA and ROE of active and passive
component suppliers. The analysis was conducted with R&D and a dummy for active component suppliers, along with
an interaction term of active component suppliers and R&D. We found a significant coefficient on the interaction term
for gross profit, but not for ROA and ROE. These results imply that R&D has a stronger impact on performance as
measured by gross profit (i.e. value capture), but not by ROA and ROE, in active component suppliers as compared to
passive component suppliers. These findings are consistent with our theoretical speculation that active component
suppliers capture higher gross profits from their R&D investment, but the cost of conducting R&D negatively affects
their bottom-line financial performance. We also examined the impact of R&D on gross profit, ROA and ROE of lead
firms and passive component suppliers. We found similar results: a significant coefficient on the interaction term of
lead firms and R&D for gross profit, but not for ROA and ROE. These results also imply that R&D has a stronger impact
on gross profit, but not on ROA and ROE, in lead firms as compared to passive component suppliers. Overall, these
findings are consistent with the results of our earlier work conducting a multivariate analysis for lead firms and non-lead
firms (Shin et al., 2009).
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Table 3. Post-spinoff performance of Acer and Motorola
year Year
(%) ROE (%)
margin (%)
margin (%)
spun off
Acer 2001 2003 6.2 11.3 13.4 4.6 4,622.5 Wistron
2002 7.9 13.0 13.6 8.1 3,089.0
2001 0.9 1.7 13.3 0.9 3,232.1
2000 5.1 10.7 9.8 4.3 4,760.6
Motorola 2004 2006 9.5 21.4 30.8 8.5 42,879.0 Freescale
Semiconductor, Inc.2005 12.8 27.5 32.0 12.4 36,843.0
2004 5.0 11.5 33.5 4.9 31,323.0
2003 2.8 7.0 33.1 3.3 27,058.0
Table 4. Comparison of post-spinoff perform ance (three-year average)—Acer vs. Wistron and Motorola vs. Freescale
Semiconductor, Inc.
Years ROA (%) ROE (%) Gross margin (%) Net margin (%) Sales (millions)
Acer 2003– 2005 5.57 11.93 9.50 4.23 6,144.2
Wistron 2.63 5.63 6.13 1.10 3,676.2
Motorola 2005– 2007 7.43 16.30 30.00 6.93 38,781.3
Freescale 25.41 226.99 39.13 218.42 6,066.4
Table 5. ANOVA, non-parametric
(Kruskal–Wallis) and median test results (2000 2005)
NMean F
Median test (
Gross margin Active 161 37.38% 25.544*** 25.293*** 11.698***
Passive 54 24.69%
Ln(gross profit) Active 158 6.80 21.150*** 18.837*** 14.312***
Passive 54 6.09
Net margin Active 174 21.06% 2.632 0.203 0.111
Passive 63 5.26%
ROA Active 166 22.75% 2.371 2.673 1.884
Passive 63 5.17%
ROE Active 163 23.77% 6.854** 4.369** 1.825
Passive 61 16.63%
R&D/sales Active 149 14.37% 50.946*** 43.131*** 35.640***
Passive 30 4.06%
Ln(R&D) Active 149 5.70 41.966*** 34.913*** 22.745***
Passive 30 4.13
S&GA/sales Active 161 13.10% 0.001 0.016 0.627
Passive 53 13.07%
Notes: ROA ¼return on assets; ROE ¼return on equity; S&GA ¼selling and general administration expense. The
log transformation of net profit is not used because the number of observations with a negative value is high.
***p,0.001; **p,0.01.
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4.3 Comparison of Firms in Advanced and Emerging Economies (Insiders and Outsiders)
Table 6 shows that firms based in advanced economies capture higher value in terms of
gross margin and gross profit, compared to firms based in emerging economies. All three
test statistics of ANOVA, non-parametric
and median tests are significant at a level of
0.001. However, the differences are trivial for net margin, ROA and ROE in the ANOVA F-
and KruskalWallis
As shown in Table 6, insiders (firms in advanced economies) spend more money on
R&D and S&GA, compared to outsiders (firms in emerging economies). These firms earn
high levels of profits by recognizing the highly diverse needs of individual markets and
continually doing design-driven innovations.
However, these higher gross margins are
offset by the costs of R&D, selling and marketing, and brand building activities, so their
returns are not significantly different from the ones for firms in emerging economies.
In order to see if lead firms and component suppliers are concentrated more in
advanced economies, rather than in emerging economies, we examine the distribution of
lead firms, CMs/ODMs and component suppliers in the two economies. Table 7 (the rows of
per cent within type) shows that there are more lead firms and component suppliers in
advanced economies than in emerging economies (74.6 per cent vs. 25.4 per cent and 79.4
Table 6. ANOVA, non-parametric
(Kruskal–Wallis) and median test results (2000 2005)
NMean F
Median test (
Gross margin Insiders 425 31.32% 49.789*** 53.720*** 32.624***
Outsiders 84 17.42%
Ln(gross profit) Insiders 423 6.90 24.803*** 25.114*** 10.507***
Outsiders 83 6.15
Net margin Insiders 443 20.19% 3.647
1.625 0.918
Outsiders 168 3.36%
ROA Insiders 438 20.20% 0.632 2.514 5.050**
Outsiders 112 1.95%
ROE Insiders 425 25.65% 0.493 2.651 4.325**
Outsiders 110 2.72%
R&D/sales Insiders 344 10.64% 78.201*** 77.418*** 70.219***
Outsiders 94 3.69%
Ln(R&D) Insiders 343 5.66 66.933*** 65.079*** 52.629***
Outsiders 92 4.20
S&GA/sales Insiders 421 14.74% 62.624*** 76.384*** 48.844***
Outsiders 79 7.27%
Notes: ROA ¼return on assets; ROE ¼return on equity; S&GA ¼selling and general administration expense. The
log transformation of net profit is not used because the number of observations with a negative value is high.
***p,0.001; **p,0.01;
Design-driven innovations could be either market- or technology-driven. While lead firms focus on market-driven
innovations, that is, tailoring products to markets, component suppliers focus on technology-driven innovations. Some
lead firms, such as Apple, do both market- and technology-driven innovations.
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per cent vs. 20.6 per cent). On the other hand, CMs/ODMs are located more in emerging
economies than in advanced economies (54.5 per cent vs. 45.5 per cent). Table 7 (the rows
of per cent within economies) also shows that advanced economies have relatively more
lead firms and component suppliers than CMs/ODMs (88.5 per cent vs. 11.5 per cent),
compared to emerging economies (65.1 per cent vs. 34.9 per cent). These findings suggest
that the three types of firms are not equally distributed across the two economies: that is,
lead firms and component suppliers are largely concentrated in advanced economies. The
test statistics of the Pearson
and likelihood ratio tests are significant at a level of 0.001.
Figure 5 depicts the distribution of lead firms, CMs/ODMs and component suppliers in
Table 7. Advanced and emerging economies (insiders and outsiders) by types of firms (2000– 2005)
Advanced economies Emerging economies Total
Type Lead firm Count 150 51 201
% within type 74.6% 25.4% 100%
% within economies 33.8% 29.1%
CM/ODM Count 51 61 112
% within type 45.5% 54.5% 100%
% within economies 11.5% 34.9%
Component supplier Count 243 63 306
% within type 79.4% 20.6% 100%
% within economies 54.7% 36.0%
Total Count 444 175 619
% within type 71.7% 28.3% 100%
% within economies 100% 100%
supplier CM/ODM Lead firm
Type of firm
Figure 5. Distribution of types of firms in advanced and emerging economies
104 N. Shin et al.
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advanced and emerging economies. It illustrates that advanced economies conform to the
smiling curve, but emerging economies do not.
5. Discussion and Conclusions
This research empirically analyzes the pattern of value capture in the global electronics
industry. It demonstrates that lead firms and component suppliers, particularly suppliers of
key components, capture most of the value created from a successful product in global
production networks in which production and product development are outsourced to CMs
and ODMs. Compared to CMs and ODMs, lead firms and component suppliers are in a
position to build up higher entry barriers by deploying and integrating such resources as
marketing, branding and intellectual property, thereby capturing higher profits.
The contribution of this research is threefold: first, it provides theoretical support for the
smiling curve concept by showing that its predictions are consistent with theory from the
resource-based view, dynamic capabilities and industrial organization. Although the concept
has been used in prior research, it has not previously been analyzed in relation to existing
theory. This research did so and found strong support.
Second, the research provides empirical evidence for the theoretical predictions. By
applying the concept of the “smiling curve” to analyze value capture among lead firms,
component suppliers and CMs/ODMs, it shows which firms are most likely to profit in global
value chains. There has been limited empirical testing of the smiling curve argument in prior
Third, this research also sheds light on globalization of production networks by showing
the importance of value chain position for capturing higher profit margins in today’s global
electronics industry. For higher profits, a firm can either move downstream and
develop brands or move upstream and develop innovative components. This is not easy
in practice, as CMs and ODMs generally do not possess capabilities in either R&D or
marketing, and face the potential loss of their CM/ODM business if they try to compete with
their own customers. However, a few have made the transition from CM to brand name
vendor (e.g. HTC) or divested their CM/ODM businesses to concentrate on their own brands
(Acer, Asustek).
The “smiling curve” predictions are right if value is defined in terms of gross margins, but
the cost of sustaining a position on either end of the curve (R&D for component suppliers and
sales/marketing for brand name firms) is so high that returns on investment are similar
across the curve. This is what basic economics would predict—if one segment or company
is more profitable than others, then investors will bid up the price until its returns are normal.
What is surprising is that the industry continues to sustain negative returns on equity on
average. Perhaps many money-losing firms remain in business in the hope of developing a
breakthrough product and turning their losses into gains.
From a national policy view, if the goal is to employ high-paid scientists, engineers and
marketing people, then it makes sense to try to move into the upstream and downstream
parts of the value chain, as higher margins captured from such positions in the value chain
can support R&D and marketing activities. However, many developing countries cannot
reasonably aspire to such a goal. It is important for policymakers in these countries to
remember that the companies in the middle of the value chain still make gross profits and
provide jobs for low- to moderate-skilled workers and some engineers and managers.
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In addition, they provide an opportunity for learning and, possibly, for moving to a better
position along the value chain.
The research suggests several directions for future work. This research categorizes
firms into pure lead firm, CM/ODM or component supplier. Although value chains in the
electronics industry have steadily disintegrated over the past several decades, there are still
major firms, especially in Japan and Korea, with highly integrated operations. Since those
firms can have mixed sales figures such as sales from brand products, from contract
manufacturing and from components, it would be interesting to replicate the present analysis
using sales percentages of different operations for firms to see if the current results still hold.
Future research could also focus on a particular industry such as the semiconductor
industry where fabless chip companies such as Qualcomm and Nvidia outsource
chip manufacturing to contract chip manufacturers (foundries). It would be interesting to
examine who captures the most value in the global semiconductor industry by comparing
fabless chip companies and contract chip manufacturers. Future research could also narrow
down the scope into a particular country, such as Taiwan or China, and examine if the
pattern of the value capture evidenced in this study holds for the country. Although this
research discusses the impacts of innovation (R&D) and branding on value capture by firms
in the global industry, it does not control for country economic variables in the analysis.
Therefore, future research could provide additional understanding about value capture in the
global electronics industry by incorporating such variables into an analysis.
This research has been supported by grants from the US National Science Foundation and
the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. Any opinions, findings and conclusions or recommendations
expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of
the National Science Foundation or the Sloan Foundation. The authors would like to thank
five reviewers for their valuable comments and suggestions for improvement of this paper.
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... Obecně je pozice vedoucí firmy nebo pozice dodavatele 1. řádu považována za příznivější než pozice dodavatelů nižšího řádu, kteří pracují pod obrovským cenovým tlakem a často i pod hrozbou nahrazení ještě levnějšími dodavateli (Gereffi, Humphrey, Sturgeon 2005). Je však třeba zdůraznit, že empirické důkazy pro toto tvrzení jsou dosud relativně omezené (Tokatli 2013;Shin, Kraemer, Dedrick 2012;Coe 2021). ...
... Pro rámcovou charakteristiku výše přidané hodnoty hlavních typů ekonomických aktivit realizovaných vedoucími firmami a dodavateli jednotlivých řádů je možné využít rozdělení ekonomických aktivit na předvýrobní (především výzkum, vývoj a design), výrobní a povýrobní (logistika, velkoobchod, maloobchod, poprodejní služby) jak elegantně, byť velmi generalizovaně, vyjadřuje smějící se křivka (viz např. Shin, Kraemer, Dedrick 2012). ...
... Přestože má tato otázka podstatný význam z hlediska koncepce stimulačních politik inspirovaných výzkumným rámcem globálních hodnotových řetězců / globálních produkčních sítí, zejména pak z hlediska podpory funkčního upgradingu, tj. přesunu firem k aktivitám s vyšší přidanou hodnotou (Humphrey, Schmitz 2002), dosud byla empirické verifikaci těchto předpokladů věnována jen omezená pozornost (Shin, Kraemer, Dedrick 2012;Pavlínek 2016;Blažek, Bělohradský, Holická 2021). Existující studie přitom zdaleka nevedly k totožným závěrům, ale naopak ukázaly, že ekonomické výsledky firem jsou podmíněny podstatně širším spektrem faktorů než jen pozicí v produkčních sítích. ...
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... This transformation, together with the increasingly uneven distribution of value across actors performing different business activities, has been often associated with the "smile curve", first proposed at the beginning of the Nineties by Stan Shih (1996). The smile curve simply illustrates that firms performing the most upstream (e.g., R&D, design and testing) and downstream (e.g., marketing, sales and after-sale services) functions of the value chain, mostly based in developed economies, tend to reap much larger shares of value than actors from developing economies, which mainly perform fabrication activities at the lower segment of the curve (Mudambi, 2008;Shin et al., 2012). Notably, this conception has largely informed the debate on the economic upgrading of countries in GVCs, with special reference to the opportunities for emerging economies to climb the value ladder thanks to the knowledge spillovers and technology transfer they may benefit from due to interactions with MNCs and their foreign affiliates (Gereffi, 1999;Humphrey & Schmitz, 2002;Pahl & Timmer, 2020;Rojec & Knell, 2018). ...
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La difficulté d’approvisionnement en équipements médicaux de base et en denrées alimentaires dans plusieurs pays au début de la pandémie du COVID-19 a montré une fois de plus la forte intégration et interdépendance de nos économies où les chaînes mondiales de valeur (CMV) constituent une forme d’organisation industrielle dominante. Grâce à celles-ci, les firmes leaders, le plus souvent des multinationales des pays riches, organisent la production à travers la soumission des firmes et des travailleur·euse·s du monde entier en contrôlant les ressources stratégiques et le travail dans les CMV en obtenant ainsi la part du lion des profits. La littérature dominante et les organisations internationales affirment que la participation des entreprises aux CMV permet d’élever les compétences, la valeur ajoutée de la production et les profits et, de surcroît, d’améliorer la croissance économique et le bien-être des travailleur·euse·s. Une récente littérature critique a remis en cause cette vision en montrant comment les firmes leaders recherchent une main-d’oeuvre précaire et à faible coût. Cependant, ces différentes études se focalisent sur les secteurs à forte intensité de main-d’oeuvre dans le Sud et sur une seule composante des CMV : le capital ou le travail. Cet ouvrage vise à combler cette lacune en étudiant l’effet des CMV sur les firmes et les travailleur·euse·s dans l’industrie suisse des machines, des équipements électriques et des métaux (MEM). Sur la base d’une analyse documentaire et de soixante entretiens approfondis avec des dirigeants et des salariées de deux firmes leaders suisses et de trois soustraitants, ainsi que des syndicats et des associations patronales, l’auteur met en évidence une dynamique de double divergence par rapport aux effets étudiés dans la littérature : la participation aux CMV dominées par les firmes leaders implique une détérioration de la performance des firmes subordonnées, de l’emploi et du travail dans l’industrie MEM. L’auteur dévoile les mécanismes sous-jacents à cette dynamique et identifie des pistes pour les surmonter, ce qui permet d’envisager les CMV comme une organisation favorisante un développement économique au service du travail.
Berdasarkan BP Statistical Review of World Energy (2022), pangsa konsumsi energi primer berasal dari teknologi terbarukan berupa kombinasi tenaga air, matahari, angin, panas bumi, gelombang, pasang surut, dan biofuel modern (biomassa tradisional – yang dapat menjadi sumber energi penting di negara berpenghasilan rendah). Pada tahun 2019, sekitar 11% energi primer global berasal dari teknologi terbarukan. Fakta tersebut menggambarkan bahwa potensi ekonomi renewable energy sangat besar. Namun, potensi ekonomi yang tinggi tersebut menimbulkan potensi korupsi pada sektor renewable energy. Hal tersebut dibuktikan dengan kenyataan bahwa negara-negara di dunia baik negara maju maupun negara berkembang seperti Meksiko, Kenya, Malaysia, Italia dan Australia mengalami permasalahan korupsi pada sektor renewable energy. Salah satu bentuk upaya mengantisipasi korupsi di sektor renewable energy adalah dengan membuat standar pembiayaan. Salah satu contoh yang digunakan dalam policy brief ini adalah The Global Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Fund (GEEREF). GEEREF adalah kemitraan publik-swasta (PPP) yang dirancang untuk memaksimalkan keuangan swasta yang dimanfaatkan melalui dana publik yang didanai oleh Komisi Eropa dan dikelola oleh European Investment Bank (EIB). Akan tetapi GEEREF masih mempunyai berbagai kekurangan dari aspek regulasi, transparansi dan partisipasi. Policy Brief ini bertujuan untuk memberikan rekomendasi kebijakan anti korupsi di sektor renewable energy. Data yang digunakan dalam policy brief ini bersumber dari studi berbagai literatur dan wawancara mendalam terhadap Indonesia Corruption Watch (ICW), Tranparency International Indonesia (TII), dan Publish What You Pay (PWYP) Indonesia. Berdasarkan hasil analisis terhadap berbagai literatur, hasil wawancara mendalam, dan kekurangan dari GEEREF sebagai best practice standar pembiayaan di sektor renewable energy, terdapat beberapa poin rekomendasi kebijakan anti korupsi di sektor renewable energy untuk negara G20 yang terbagi menjadi tiga aspek yaitu regulasi, transparansi, dan partisipasi masyarakat. Keywords: Anti Korupsi, G20, Partisipasi Masyarakat, Regulasi, Renewable Energy, Transparansi
Current global problems like the pandemic or the war in Ukraine have raised new aspects of make-or-buy decisions. Many companies consider shortening their supply chains or even reshore production. We are modelling the cost-related consequences of possible strategies, jointly considering the effect of productivity knowledge and interdependencies of consecutive production stages in the manufacturing process, assuming varying learning rates based on task complexity. The dynamic optimization problem enables us to investigate the role of learning effect in both outsourcing and insourcing (reshoring) decisions. In general, we find that firms should stick to or insource production processes where learning potential is high; however, keeping activities with low learning potential but higher interdependencies may also be beneficial as they can contribute to increase productivity at other stages. Optimal decisions might dynamically change from one period to the other. Reasons include that it might be reasonable to keep a production stage in-house until its cross-stage learning effect sufficiently contributes to decrease production costs at other stages. Accordingly, if a firm partly re-establishes its in-house manufacturing, the rest of the production stages may also be brought back over time thanks to the accumulated productivity knowledge. This may provide further implications for industrial policies that foster reshoring: pursuing activities with considerable learning potential or possible interdependencies with other corporate functions would trigger further relocation decisions and may result in upgrading in the value chain. We show numerical examples to illustrate the rationale behind different strategies, highlighting the key role of cross-stage learning.
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Why and how do incumbent firms (IFs) induce crises for latecomer firms? How do latecomer firms (LCFs) manage the crises, and how does crisis management affect LCFs' catch-up? To answer these questions, we look at crises induced by IFs and LCFs' crisis management by drawing on competitive dynamics and crisis management theories. Based on two case studies in the telecommunications sector, we find that IFs induce crises using intellectual property (IP) lawsuits (called IP crises) for hindering LCFs' catch-up. Two LCFs achieved different catch-up performance based on the effectiveness of subsequent IP crisis management. In particular, we also find that the sectoral environments, in terms of technological and demand regimes, can act as a moderator in the relationship between the IP crisis management and the catch-up performance. We propose a more fine-grained view in catch-up studies by suggesting that the constructs 'IFs-induced IP crises' and 'LCFs' IP crisis management". KEYWORDS
This chapter focuses on China’s international engagement in standardisation, in particular, how China began to engage in domestic and international standardisation and how these attempts were obstructed by the US domestically and internationally. This chapter examines two specific cases, one on standardisation in the Chinese DVD industry and the other on how China promoted its WAPI standard domestically and internationally. In the latter case, China attempted to promote WAPI as a rival standard, and the US blocked it at every level, nationally and internationally. China ultimately failed in that standardisation initiative. This case shows that China has not yet been able to exert influence in the standardisation space and it needs a complementary set of institutional, organisational, and negotiating skills beyond an outstanding patent portfolio. In addition, this chapter also discusses the involvement of regulators and courts in the implementation game as well as how China has accepted criticism in the WAPI case and started taking a more inclusive approach to standard-setting.KeywordsStandardisationWAPIWi-FiTechnological nationalism Ex ante Ex post Anti-monopoly lawICT
Investment in intangible assets is recognized as a major source of growth, innovation, and value creation in the modern economy but there is so far no standardized approach to the measurement of intangibles. The chapter lists many data sources that can be useful in (partially) shedding light with the emphasis on past surveys. The first survey to address a broad list of intangibles was the 2009 UK Investment in Intangible Assets Survey and the latest international effort was the 2020 Global into survey. Despite the usefulness of surveys to capture various types of intangibles and their impact, surveys face several measurement challenges, detailed in the chapter. Intangibles are often created in‐house, over multiple periods, and rarely registered in accounting systems. Given the absence of accounting rules, available data on intangibles from own‐account investment is usually scarce. At the same time, intangibles are mobile, they are easily moved across businesses and countries, but their pricing often serves profit shifting and does not reflect real values. The chapter also contains an empirical analysis showing a direct effect of intangible assets on productivity and an indirect effect of intangibles that encourage participation in global value chains, that in turn improves production efficiency. Reflecting on the way ahead, authors expose the importance of official statistics to take a more active role: highlight the need for methodological improvements including clear conceptual definitions, good question(naire) design, and relevant unit(s) of observation; discuss data needs for national accounting, policymaking, and research in economics; and consider the potential of assessing the stock of intangible assets. To improve the measurement of intangibles, recommendations for future action call for a concerted effort in harmonizing definitions, considering current and future data needs, and striving for an adjustment in corporate accounting rules to better recognize intangible assets.
Labor market distortion is ceaselessly endangering the balance among economic efficiency, social equity, and environmental quality sought by inclusive green growth and sustainable development. This study develops an innovative evaluation system to measure China's inclusive green growth by using provincial panel data from 2004 to 2020. Three dimensions are covered, including economic development, social equity and welfare, and green sustainability. Static and dynamic panel econometric models are employed to investigate the effect of labor market distortion on inclusive green growth and the potential transmission channels. The spatial econometric model is further applied to study the spatial spillover effect of labor market distortion on inclusive green growth. The results indicate that labor market distortion negatively affects inclusive green growth. Technological innovation, industrial structure optimization, and export trade upgrading are transmission channels of the impact of labor market distortion on inclusive green growth. In addition to hindering local inclusive green growth, labor market distortion also decreases neighboring inclusive green growth through the spatial spillover effect. These conclusions suggest that removing distortion in the labor market and emphasizing the role of market mechanisms in labor allocation may provide a new perspective to help move toward inclusive green growth for sustainable development.
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Keberlanjutan Kerjasama bidang kesehatan pada skala global masih menjadi tantangan karena beberapa negara masih terancam oleh berbagai masalah kesehatan masyarakat. Oleh karena itu, diperlukan insentif yang kuat bagi para tokoh pemimpin dan politisi untuk berpartisipasi dalam memastikan keberlanjutan jaminan kesehatan global dan domestik termasuk dengan mencari sumber pembiayaan alternatif untuk Cakupan Kesehatan Universal (Universal Health Coverage/UHC). Kami mengusulkan untuk mengalokasikan pajak kesehatan untuk membiayai UHC bagi negaranegara berkembang G20 mengingat tantangan kesehatan masyarakat di negara berkembang terutama dikaitkan dengan faktor risiko penyakit tidak menular (PTM). Pajak kesehatan diharapkan dapat menurunkan faktor risiko PTM sekaligus meningkatkan pendapatan pemerintah untuk mendanai agenda pembangunan.
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Strategy has been defined as “the match an ovganization makes between its internal resources and skills … and the opportunities and risks created by its external environment.” 1 During the 1980s, the principal developments in strategy analysis focussed upon the link between strategy and the external environment. Prominent examples of this focus are Michael Porter's analysis of industry structure and competitive positioning and the empirical studies undertaken by the PIMS project. 2 By contrast, the link between strategy and the firm's resources and skills has suffered comparative neglect. Most research into the strategic implications of the firm's internal environment has been concerned with issues of strategy implementation and analysis of the organizational processes through which strategies emerge. 3
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Global industrialization is the result of an integrated system of production and trade. Open international trade has encouraged nations to specialize in different branches of manufacturing and even in different stages of production within a specific industry. This process, fueled by the explosion of new products and new technologies since World War II, has led to the emergence of a global manufacturing system in which production capacity is dispersed to an unprecedented number of developing as well as industrialized countries (Harris, 1987; Gereffi, 1989b). The revolution in transportation and communications technology has permitted manufacturers and retailers alike to establish international production and trade networks that cover vast geographical distances. While considerable attention has been given to the involvement of industrial capital in international contracting, the key role played by commercial capital (i.e., large retailers and brand-named companies that buy but don't make the goods they sell) in the expansion of manufactured exports from developing countries has been relatively ignored. This chapter will show how these ‘big buyers’ have shaped the production networks established in the world's most dynamic exporting countries, especially the newly industrialized countries (NICs) of East Asia. The argument proceeds in several stages. First, a distinction is made between producer-driven and buyer-driven commodity chains, which represent alternative modes of organizing international industries. These commodity chains, though primarily controlled by private economic agents, are also influenced by state policies in both the producing (exporting) and consuming (importing) countries. Second, the main organizational features of buyer-driven commodity chains are identified, using the apparel industry as a case study. The apparel commodity chain contains two very different segments. The companies that make and sell standardized clothing have production patterns and sourcing strategies that contrast with firms in the fashion segment of the industry, which has been the most actively committed to global sourcing. Recent changes within the retail sector of the United States are analyzed in this chapter to identify the emergence of new types of big buyers and to show why they have distinct strategies of global sourcing. Third, the locational patterns of global sourcing in apparel are charted, with an emphasis on the production frontiers favored by different kinds of US buyers. Several of the primary mechanisms used by big buyers to source products from overseas are outlined in order to demonstrate how transnational production systems are sustained and altered by American retailers and branded apparel companies.
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Constructs an analytical framework for a resource-based approach to strategy formulation. There are five stages in this framework: analyze resources, appraise capabilities, analyze competitive advantage, select strategy, and identify resource gaps. The concepts of this framework are illustrated by reference to existing U.S. firms such as IBM, Xerox, Harley-Davidson, and 3M. This framework uses resources and capabilities as the foundation for a firm's long-term strategy because they provide direction for firm strategy and serve as the primary source of firm profit. Resources are defined as the inputs into the production process and include items of capital equipment and skills of individual employees. Capabilities are defined as the capacity for a team of resources to perform some task or activity. When analyzing the competitive advantage of a firm, durability, transparency, transferability, and replicability are considered important factors. To be successful, firms must develop strategies which utilize their unique characteristics. (SRD)
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There are three main drivers of economic globalization in the latter half of the 20th century: investment by transnational corporations, international trade, and the Internet. Whereas producer-driven and buyer-driven commodity chains characterize the phases of investment-based and trade-based globalization, respectively, the emergence of the Internet in the mid-1990s heralds a new age of digital globalization. The explosion in connectivity that is enabled by the Internet has launched an e-commerce revolution that is beginning to transform the structure of business-to-business (B2B) as well as business-to-consumer (B2C) transactions in global industries. New infomediaries that navigate access to rich information and greater reach by businesses and consumers are prominent in B2C digital networks. The Internet's most significant impact to date, however, has been in B2B markets, where e-commerce is reshaping the competitive dynamics and power alignments in traditional producer-driven and buyer-driven commodity chains such as automobiles and apparel.
Understanding sources of sustained competitive advantage has become a major area of research in strategic management. Building on the assumptions that strategic resources are heterogeneously distributed across firms and that these differences are stable over time, this article examines the link between firm resources and sustained competitive advantage. Four empirical indicators of the potential of firm resources to generate sustained competitive advantage-value, rareness, imitability, and substitutability are discussed. The model is applied by analyzing the potential of several firm resources for generating sustained competitive advantages. The article concludes by examining implications of this firm resource model of sustained competitive advantage for other business disciplines.
The same rule which regulates the relative value of commodities in one country does not regulate the relative value of the commodities exchanged between two or more countries. Under a system of perfectly free commerce, each country naturally devotes its capital and labor to such employments as are most beneficial to each. This pursuit of individual advantage is admirably connected with the universal good of the whole. By stimulating industry, by rewarding ingenuity, and by using most efficaciously the peculiar powers bestowed by nature, it distributes labor most effectively and most economically: while, by increasing the general mass of productions, it diffuses general benefit, and binds together, by one common tie of interest and intercourse, the universal society of nations throughout the civilised world. It is this principle which determines that wine shall be made in France and Portugal, that corn sell be grown in America and Poland, and that hardware and other goods shall be manufactured in England…
This book discusses the development of a theory on the growth of the firm. It is shown that the resources with which a particular firm is accustomed to working will shape the productive services its management is capable of rendering. The experience of management will affect the productive services that all its other resources are capable of rendering. As management tries to make the best use of the resources available, a ‘dynamic’ interacting process occurs which encourages growth but limits the rate of growth.