Perfecting the Catching-up: The Case of Taiwan's Motorcycle Industry

Discussion Papers


by SATO Yukihito

March 2009


The final stage of the catching-up process has formidable hurdles. This paper examines the case of Taiwan’s motorcycle industry and shows how latecomers overcame the hurdles. In the early 1990s, the two largest motorcycle makers in Taiwan, Sanyang and Kwang Yang, had completed the catching-up process and became independent from Honda, on which they had technologically depended since the early 1960s. The requisite for independence was acquiring the capacity for product innovation. The two assemblers could cultivate technological capacity by investing abundant resources, which they accumulated in the protected market. It should be noted that although the market was protected and highly concentrated, it was also very competitive. Another condition was the solid local suppliers of parts and components. The local suppliers had also grown under the government’s industrial policies. However, their development beyond imitators can be attributed to their own initiatives.

Keywords: Taiwan, Motorcycle Industry, Catching-up
JEL classification: L13, L52, L62, N85, O14

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