As East Asian capitalism undergoes a series of changes, scholars have begun to study the effects of globalization on the development and decline of East Asian local industry and society. This article is a comparative analysis of the changing trajectories of the Taiwanese and Japanese thin-film transistor liquid-crystal display industries. It explores how Taiwan introduced, through collaboration, tacit knowledge from Japan, then conveyed that knowledge to mainland China, and closes with a discussion of the risks of tacit knowledge accumulation and cross-border talent mobility. Drawing on in-depth interviews and secondary-source analysis, the author shows that tacit knowledge and expertise are offshoots of the long-term accumulation of experience and technical knowledge that cannot be presented in manuals; they spread through the flow of technical personnel. Intellectual property rights cannot protect tacit knowledge. It is extremely difficult to keep it from traveling to other countries, which poses a risk for the development of Taiwanese high-tech industries. These findings help explain the surprising ways in which global technology flows affect employment in local high-tech industries.
Risk and Mobility: A Case Study of the Thin-Film Transistor Liquid-Crystal Display Industry in East Asia
Mayumi Tabata is a Japanese sociologist based in Taiwan. She was born and brought up in Tokyo and moved to Taiwan in 1995 after completing graduate school in economics in Japan. She entered the graduate school of sociology of National Taiwan University and received her PhD in 2007. She is currently conducting research in the department of sociology of National Dong Hwa University in Taiwan. Her main research interests are the innovation mechanisms of Taiwanese society and industry, industrial upgrading and structural change in the Taiwanese high-tech industry, and technology and social capital in the Sunflower student movement.
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Mayumi Tabata; Risk and Mobility: A Case Study of the Thin-Film Transistor Liquid-Crystal Display Industry in East Asia. East Asian Science, Technology and Society 1 June 2015; 9 (2): 151–166. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/18752160-2884007
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