Are Asian Countries Ready to Lead a Global ICT Standardization?

Are Asian Countries Ready to Lead a Global ICT Standardization?

DongBack Seo (Chungbuk National University, Korea)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-6332-9.ch013


East Asian countries are booming with both technological and demographic advances. They have traditionally developed their economies by being licensed foreign Information and Communications Technology (ICT) standards and using them to develop their home market and to export products. This chapter proposes that East Asian countries should start to develop a leadership role in global ICT standardizations even though their focuses are currently still primarily on developments in their own nations.
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2. Historical Background Of Ict Standardization By Region

The historical background of ICT standardization by region provides a basic understanding of nations’ approaches to ICT standards and standardization. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, the breakup of AT&T in U.S.A., the privatization of the postal, telegraph, and telephone (PTT) unit in Western Europe, and the ICT developments in the U.S.A and Western Europe in the 1980s, the environment was favorable for companies and authorities in these two regions – the U.S.A and European Union - to standardize ICTs internationally (Bekkers & Smits, 1998). This was especially true for the telecommunications industry, which required large investments in networks and infrastructures before commercializing products or services. These regions could lead ICT standardizations because they had ICT innovation, production, and consumption powers, while the rest of world was under-developed. A notable exception was Japan. Some electronic companies from Japan such as Sony and JVC were able to internationally standardize their electronic products (e.g. Video Home System as a videotape format) through market competitions that can produce de facto standards. However, the EU and U.S.A. led most ICT standardizations, particularly in the cases of de jure standards (for the explanations of de facto and de jure, please see De Vries [2006]).

During the late 1980s and early 1990s, four Asian countries, the so called four Asian Tigers (Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, and Taiwan) emerged as fast developing countries, while China and India have received increasing attention since the late 1990s and 2000s. Therefore, it is important to overview the historical backgrounds of ICT standardizations in these regions as well as those in the EU, U.S.A. and Japan.

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