Multinational Knowledge Strategies, Policy and the Upgrading Process of Regions
Revisiting the Automotive Industry in Ostrava and Shanghai
This paper revisits how and why new multinational knowledge-based strategies and multi-level governmental policies influence the upgrading process of regions in developing economies. Automotive multinationals traditionally exploited local asset conditions, but it is shown that they have also been contributing to knowledge-generation systems via investments in R&D centres and cooperation with regional knowledge producers. We discern three elements of the upgrading process of regions—upgrading of domestic firms, subsidiary evolution and establishment of strategic relations with local knowledge institutes—to analyse two case studies: Ostrava (Czech Republic) and Shanghai (China). The cases show that all types of upgrading— product, process, chain and functional—have taken place in the last years, and that follow sourcing may have a positive impact on regional upgrading. These observations provide lessons for governments in developing economies which aim to strengthen innovation-based regional development.