Government Neglect and the Decline of Hong Kong's Integrated Circuit Design Industry

Douglas B. Fuller*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapterResearchpeer-review


Today Taiwan is recognized as the largest center of fabless integrated circuit (IC) design firms (firms which design but do not fabricate chips) after the United States, while Hong Kong is a bit player in this global industry. Fifteen years ago things looked quite different. At that time, Hong Kong was arguably ahead of Taiwan in terms of the technical sophistication of its integrated circuit industry. While Taiwan’s large and cutting-edge pure-play foundries, firms which fabricate1 but do not design chips, were already in existence and beginning to grow, Hong Kong at that stage had the technical edge in design activities. Furthermore, these design activities were eminently suitable for Hong Kong given its lack of a tradition of state support for large capital investments for industrial enterprises, just the type of support needed to jump-start IC fabrication plants (fabs for short) in emerging economies. Thus, 15 years ago one could easily have forecast that building on their respective strengths, Hong Kong would become a center of design to complement the fabs sprouting up in Taiwan, Singapore and Korea where generous state support for investment in fabs was forthcoming.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInnovation Policy and the Limits of Laissez-faire : Hong Kong's Policy in Comparative Perspective
EditorsDouglas B. Fuller
Number of pages25
Place of PublicationBasingstoke
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Publication date2010
ISBN (Print)9780230273368, 9781349323890
ISBN (Electronic)9780230304116
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Development
  • Economic growth
  • Growth
  • Technology
  • Tradition

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