The Chinese race for innovation and its state-driven safety car: A new Developmental State paradigm in the automotive industry

University essay from Lunds universitet/Centrum för öst- och sydöstasienstudier

Abstract: The electric vehicles are increasing in popularity year by year. However, the market demand for such technology is still moderate and most traditional actors within the automotive industry are having a hard time adapting to this new stage. What poses threats to the survival of some actors can simultaneously become a great opportunity for the emergence of new major players. This paper looked at the Chinese innovation process and mapped out the important actors and dynamics entailed by it. The main preoccupations that the present research engaged with are whether the new energy vehicle (NEV) sector comes with a paradigm shift for the Chinese industrial environment, what is the role played by the state in this new context, and lastly, whether there are any differences between the state-owned enterprises’ innovation networks and those formed around the private actors. The thesis brought into discussion a new variant of the Developmental State Model drawing upon the structure provided by the Triple Helix theory. The state is not simply designing and imposing industrial plans anymore, but it becomes a manager of the frontier technology innovation networks, using the market dynamics as an optimisation tool.

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