Keywords: Taiwan, ITRI, Industrial Technology Research Institute, semiconductors, technology transfer, technological learning, RCA, indigenous technological capacity, capacity development, institutional reform, technology development, export economy, electronics industry, innovation systems, developing economies
Institutional reform and technology development: the case of ITRI
In the early 1970s, Taiwan's government decided to transition from a labour-intensive economy to a technology-intensive export economy. The Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) was created from existing national research institutes as the institution facilitating implementation of the nation's new focus on industrial upgrading through the electronics industry. This article explores the origins, impact, and development of ITRI through the first decade, specifically focusing on its technology transfer process, indigenous capacity development, and commercialisation of 7.0-micron CMOS technology. We conclude the article with policy and institutional options for developing economies based on lessons learned from Taiwan's ITRI-centred innovation system.