Technology Upgrading in Chinese Manufacturing: A Cross-industry Perspective

Guowei Dong, Björn Jindra, Ari Kokko

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This explorative article contributes by investigating technology upgrading in 23 manufacturing industries in China 1995–2015. We find not only industry-specific trends in the intensity of technology upgrading but also variations in terms of global interactions. Whereas, Chinese manufacturing industries differ considerably when it comes to the relevance of foreign actors for the commercialisation of frontier technology, the sourcing of foreign technology by Chinese actors remains low in all industries. In addition, we find positive relations between the intensity of technology upgrading and imports, inward FDI, and outward FDI at the industry level. However, there are no strong signs of a corresponding link between technology upgrading and revealed comparative advantages in exports. Moreover, we find only weak evidence of faster technology upgrading in the industries identified as ‘strategic’ by the Chinese Government.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Technological Learning, Innovation and Development
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)341-379
Number of pages39
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

Published online: 10. Feb 2023.


  • Technology upgrading
  • Manufacturing
  • China
  • Trade
  • Foreign direct investment
  • FDI
  • Industrial policy

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