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Catch-up Strategy of an Emerging Firm in an Emerging Country: Analyzing the Case of Huawei vs. Ericsson with Patent Data

Joo, SH and Oh, C and Lee, Keun (2016): Catch-up Strategy of an Emerging Firm in an Emerging Country: Analyzing the Case of Huawei vs. Ericsson with Patent Data. Published in: International Journal of Technology Management , Vol. 72, No. 1-3 (2016): pp. 19-42.

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Abstract

The telecommunication system industry has long been dominated by the Swedish giant, Ericsson. Huawei, a newly emerged firm from China, entered the industry, grew rapidly, and finally overtook Ericsson in terms of sales in 2012. Given the rarity of this phenomenon, this study seeks to explain how this became possible. We first verified that Huawei’s market share catch-up is rather owing to its technological capabilities than its cost advantages. Then, our analysis of the European patents shows that Huawei grew rapidly by developing technologies that are different from those of Ericsson, and that the former relies more on recent and scientific knowledge in its innovation strategies. This study suggests that creating one’s own technological path rather than following the path of the incumbents could be a viable strategy for successful technological catch-up.

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