Leading, Following or Cooked Goose? Innovation Successes and Failures in Taiwan's Electronics Industry

Douglas B. Fuller*, Akintunde Ibitayo Akinwande, Charles G. Sodini

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


The reasons behind the innovation successes and failures in the Taiwanese electronics industry have been widely discussed. This paper makes its contribution to the debate by comparing the innovation outcomes for three products: complimentary metal oxide silicon (CMOS) logic, dynamic random access memory (DRAM) and active matrix liquid crystal displays (AMLCDs). Four success factors are identified to characterize products where the Taiwanese pursue innovation: granularity of production; absence of need for large amounts of patient capital; volume production; and manufacturing-based production. In turn, this paper argues that products exhibiting these characteristics succeed because such characteristics draw upon the institutional and historical strengths of the Taiwanese economy. The paper broadens the inquiry to assess what lessons the Taiwanese innovation successes have for developing countries. It is argued that the new lesson Taiwan has to offer is that countries can become innovators by concentrating their human and financial capital through granularization of production.

Original languageEnglish
JournalIndustry and Innovation
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)179-196
Number of pages18
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Electronics industry
  • Industrial performance
  • Industrial production
  • Innovation
  • Manufacturing

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