How do R&D Networks Change? The Upgrading of Innovation Capabilities in Emerging Market Firms. Insights from China’s Wind Energy Sector

Lars Oehler*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Innovative activities are increasingly decentralized and globally dispersed, which provides new upgrading opportunities for emerging market firms. However, little is known about how latecomer firms (re-)organize their research and development (R&D) over time as conditions for upgrading change. This paper systematically maps the R&D networks of China’s lead firms in the wind turbine industry. The empirical findings reveal that latecomer firms not only exploit but increasingly co-create vanguard knowledge in global R&D networks through organizational diversification. Taking an evolutionary perspective, the paper extends our understanding of the changing nature of upgrading mechanisms and provides new insights into the reorganization of innovation processes in an era of technological change.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInnovation and Development
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)385-409
Number of pages25
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2023

Bibliographical note

Published online: 17 Jan 2022.


  • Latecomer firms
  • Upgrading of innovation capabilities
  • Global r&d networks
  • Wind energy
  • China

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