The Chinese Electronics Industry in Transition

by Jonathan D. Pollack


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This Note describes and evaluates efforts in the People's Republic of China (PRC) to develop a modern electronics industry. It draws upon an extensive survey of primary and secondary sources on Chinese science and technology, interviews, and field research in China during November 1984; observations and reports from other visitors to the PRC; interviews with Chinese R&D personnel studying in the United States; and interviews with American businessmen involved in trade and technology relations with the PRC. It focuses on China's ability to introduce new products and processes in the R&D production system. The study suggests that, while many factors have impeded technological change, many of the obstacles seem more matters of infrastructure and management than of the availability of technology per se. The Chinese have introduced a number of reforms, with mixed results. On balance, the Chinese electronics industry has achieved noticeable gains in its pursuit of technological innovation, but their full effects are not likely to be felt for some time.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Note series. The note was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1979 to 1993 that reported other outputs of sponsored research for general distribution.

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