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Analysis on the evolution and governance of the biotechnology industry of China

Wang, K., Zhu, L., Hong, J. and Marinova, D. (2007) Analysis on the evolution and governance of the biotechnology industry of China. In: MODSIM07 - Land, Water and Environmental Management: Integrated Systems for Sustainability, 10 December to 13 December 2007, Christchurch pp. 2693-2699.

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The past twenty years have witnessed the high-speed growth of China’s biotechnology industry, and this presents an excellent opportunity to examine the changes that have taken place, especially, to carry out overall evaluation and governance analysis from the perspective of technology policies. Although China’s biotechnology industry has achieved tremendous extension both in scale and structure, the strengths it gained from basic research have been significantly weakened by commercialization. This has resulted in the comparatively limited scale of the whole industry, innovation-lacking products, poor output from research and development and scarcity of industrial resources. A large range of literature regarding China’s biotechnology industry attributes these outcomes to vague and even inappropriate governance, findings supported mainly by analyses based on the linear model of impact of government policies on industrial development. In these analyses, government, enterprises and companies as well as R&D organizations are either put on the opposite poles or in a straight line.
After examining the nature of China’s biotechnology industry, and in particular the dynamic procedures in research and development, the authors of this paper argue that besides government, enterprises and R&D organizations, a diverse array of factors should be taken into account as we tackle issues emerging in understanding the development of China’s biotechnology industry. Furthermore, these factors, human or nonhuman, should not be arranged as opposing poles or linearly connected points on a straight line. They are in fact all knitted in networks and act as both knitters and knots.
China’s biotechnology industry gains its strength to develop and evolve from these networks, thus its governance must be aimed at improving their stability and quality.
Although the main disciplinary perspectives of this research are historical and sociological (including identification of the three development stages of biotechnology in China since 1978 to present days), a large number of concepts and ideas from management studies as well as an interdisciplinary approach are also incorporated into the analysis.
The main model used in this research is Actor Network Theory, which is employed as a basic theoretical frame. From this starting point the authors attempt to make a closer examination of China’s biotechnology industry both at the level of technology research and development and at the level of commercialization. The modeling process in this research can be regarded as an attempt to explore the social construction of China’s biotechnology industry. The paper reveals how China’s biotechnology industry develops in the form of networks within the country’s social context and what kinds of relationships exist among the relevant factors; therefore, providing guiding insights for improving the governance of China’s biotechnology industry both in policy and management.

Item Type: Conference Paper
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Institute for Sustainability and Technology Policy
Publisher: Modelling and Simulation Society of Australia and New Zealand
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