Standards Development as Hybridization

Standards Development as Hybridization

Xiaobai Shen (University of Edinburgh Business School, Edinburgh, Scotland), Ian Graham (University of Edinburgh Business School, Edinburgh, Scotland), James Stewart (The Institute for the Study of Science, Technology and Innovation, The University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, Scotland) and Robin Williams (The Institute for the Study of Science, Technology and Innovation, The University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, Scotland)
Copyright: © 2013 |Pages: 12
DOI: 10.4018/jitsr.2013070103
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While users in the rest of the World have been offered 3G mobile phones based on either the CDMA2000 or W-CDMA standards, users in China have the additional option of using phones based on the TD-SCDMA standard. As a technology largely developed by Chinese actors and only implemented in China, TD-SCDMA has been seen as an “indigenous innovation” orchestrated by the Chinese government and supported by Chinese firms. This paper adopts a science and technology studies (STS) framework to explore how global and national institutional and social elements have been embedded in and impacted on the artifacts of TD-SCDMA technology. Rather than being an indigenous Chinese technology, TD-SCDMA’s history exemplifies how standards and the intellectual property embedded in them lead to a complex hybridization between the global and national systems of innovation.
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2. Dynamics In The Mobile Telecommunications Industry

Telecommunications and telecommunications equipment was identified as a strategically important ‘pillar’ industry in the Chinese 10th and 11th five year plans. The economic reforms had successfully transformed the Chinese telecommunications industry from being an impediment to economic development in the early 1980s to become its most vibrant sector by the mid-90s. Since 1986, China’s five-year plans have emphasised the importance of high technology R&D and innovation (Ure, 2007). Chinese government policy required China to open up its market to foreign players and to build up indigenous technological capability by nurturing domestic players (Shen, 1999).

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