China's Approach to Technology Acquisition

Part III, Summary Observations

by Hans Heymann


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Part III of a study that addresses the question of how extensively and how effectively the People's Republic of China utilizes the great reservoir of technology that is potentially available to it from the most advanced industrial countries. The present report offers a general assessment of China's technology-acquisition process. It reviews the evolution of that process and seeks to throw light on the way foreign technology is related to China's technological growth and to the diffusion within the country of technological knowledge. The report examines the advantages and limitations of China's principal forms of technology acquisition: industrial exhibitions, prototype copying, and purchase of complete plants. It concludes that importation of whole plants offers the best vehicle for achieving dramatic gains in China's industrial productivity. Expanding the technology-import drive is, however, constrained by three factors: China's absorptive capacity, its ability to pay, and the ideological inhibitions imposed by its self-reliance principles. (See also R-1573.)

This report is part of the RAND Corporation report series. The report was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 1993 that represented the principal publication documenting and transmitting RAND's major research findings and final research.

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