South Korea and Taiwan differ significantly in their industrial structures, with the former comprising mainly of Chaebols and the latter SMEs. One interesting question to ask then is whether such a difference may affect their respective innovative ability and performance. Using patent data derived from the NBER website, we find that their performances are very close. The quality of their inventions, as measured by originality and generality, were about equal. Although Taiwan slightly outperformed South Korea in the total number of patents obtained, South Korean inventions seem to result in better commercial values. Finally, we analysed the relationship among the average number of patent citations received, the year and the technology category. The results suggest that (1) innovative performance is related to the technology field and (2) there have been significant changes over time for both countries in the growth rate of patents and in the average number of citations received.
Keywords: industrial structure, innovation, patent, patent citations