Technology Strategy in an Era of Global Flux: Evidence from Chinese High-tech Industries in the U.S.-China Technology Battle

Qingqing Chen, Business Economics and Public Policy, The Wharton School

Abstract: I plan to provide a theoretical framework to understand how firms actively participating in global production adjust their technology strategies in the flux of deglobalization. I plan to integrate the learning curve into a framework of option theory to predict high-tech companies’ reactions to increased uncertainty in the supply chain. The recent U.S.-China technology battle is a vivid example of the current global flux. The U.S. government banned Chinese telecom giant ZTE to get access to American products and services in 2017. The unexpected ban alarmed other Chinese high-tech companies the fragility in their supply chain. They started to contact new suppliers who may fall behind in technology but could provide a safe option outside current U.S. suppliers. Because of learning effects, the second sourcing may induce unexpected technology catch-up in the long run. I plan to exploit the supply-chain and patent data from Chinese high-tech industries to test the predictions from the theoretical model.