Tuesday, June 25, 2013

International Product Cycles, East Asian Growth, And Effect MNE Strategies

[Author: William Rapp, New Jersey Institute of Technology]

The systematic migration or “Flying Geese” pattern of shifting competitive advantage in particular industries from one country to another first proposed by Kaname Akamatsu for the global textile and apparel industries and then extended by Ray Vernon and others to additional industries including steel, ships and automobiles gained much attention in the 1960s through the 1990s as Japan, Taiwan, Korea, the ASEAN Nations, and finally China sequentially entered and exited industries such as textiles, apparel, toys, electronics, steel, ships and cars. However as China has emerged over the last decade and a half as the world’s factory the International Product Cycle or Flying Geese theory seemingly lost its relevance as analysts appeared to assume China’s export competitiveness in low wage industries would continue indefinitely. But perhaps nothing continues indefinitely.

That is more recently China is experiencing the same economic forces in terms of increasing per capita incomes, labor skills, wages, land prices and price inflation as its predecessors such that textiles, apparel and similar low skill low pay industries after first shifting to lower wage areas within China itself are now migrating to lower wage countries such as Bangladesh, Cambodia or Indonesia. Thus China now too seems to be following the same “Flying Geese” pattern.

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