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Innovating Global Value Chains: Creation of the Netbook Market by Taiwanese Firms

Discussion Papers

No.325

February 2012

ABSTRACT

This paper explores the process of creation of the netbook market by Taiwanese firms as an example of a disruptive innovation by latecomer firms. As an analytical framework, I employ the global value chain perspective to capture the dynamics of vertical inter-firm relationships that drive some firms in the chain to change the status quo of the industry. I then divide the process of the emergence of the netbook market into three consecutive stages, i.e. (1) the launch of the first-generation netbook by a Taiwanese firm named ASUSTeK, (2) the response of the two powerful platform leaders of the industry, Intel and Microsoft Intel, to ASUSTeK’s innovation, and (3) the market entry by another powerful Taiwanese firm, Acer, and explain how Taiwanese firms broke the Intel-centric market and tapped into the market-creating innovation opportunities that had been suppressed by the two powerful platform leaders. I also show that the creation of the netbook industry was an evolutionary process in which a series of responses by different industry players led to changes in the status quo of the industry.

Keywords: disruptive innovation, latecomer firms, global value chains, the PC industry
JEL classification: L63, O51, O53

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