Keywords: China, technological learning, mobile phone handset industry, product innovation, latecomer firms, learning strategy, distribution channels, technology management, industrialising economies
Windows of opportunity, learning strategies and the rise of China's handset makers
This paper examines the linkage among the industry and policy environment, firm-level resources and capabilities, and the success of learning strategies in China's handset makers. Within a particular context – characterised by a large domestic market, disintegrated technological regime, established foreign irms and supportive government policies – these firms were able to exploit their own specific advantages and were also able to acquire new resources and capabilities, quite rapidly emerging as serious competitors in the domestic market vis-a-vis global incumbents. These latecomers have tightly linked their product innovation efforts to the local market characteristics and have created competitive advantages through their distribution channels. Our findings have strategic implications for new entrants in other industry and national contexts, and also for research on the critical conditions and processes supporting successful technological learning.