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Exploiting the Modularity of Value Chains: Inter-firm Dynamics of the Taiwanese Notebook PC Industry

Discussion Papers


April 2008


This paper explores the inter-firm dynamics that govern the rise of capabilities of latecomer firms operating in global value chains. By extending and modifying the model proposed by Gereffi, Humphrey and Sturgeon [2005], I present a framework in which the rise of supplier capabilities is determined by interactions among the strategies of the firms. Based on a case study of the Taiwanese notebook PC industry, the paper will explore how the interactions among outsourcing strategies by lead firms from the developed countries, the learning strategies of Taiwanese suppliers, and the product strategy of powerful component vendors have driven the explosive growth of the industry after the 1990s. By so doing, the paper attempts to highlight the active roles firms play in determining the speed and direction of the rise in supplier capabilities.

Keywords: Global value chains, Notebook PC industry, ODM(original design manufacturing), Taiwan
JEL classification: F14, L23, L63

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