Standards Development as Hybridization and Capacity Building

Standards Development as Hybridization and Capacity Building

Xiaobai Shen (University of Edinburgh, UK), Ian Graham (University of Edinburgh, UK) and Robin Williams (University of Edinburgh, UK)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-6332-9.ch012


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. China's support for TD-SCDMA was widely viewed in the West as a ploy to keep the “global” 3G standards, W-CDMA and CDMA2000, out of China, but in 2009, the Chinese government licensed the operation of all three standards. The authors argue that Chinese support for TD-SCDMA, rather than being a defensive move, was a proactive policy to use the TD-SCDMA standard to develop Chinese industrial capacity, which could then be fed back into the global processes developing later generations of telecommunications standards. Rather than being an indigenous Chinese technology, TD-SCDMA's history exemplifies how standards and the intellectual property and technological know-how embedded in them lead to a complex hybridization between the global and national systems of innovation.
Chapter Preview

1. 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).

Complete Chapter List

Search this Book: