To call Japan an economic superpower is perhaps an exercise in stating the obvious, but the importance of its continuing dominance in worldwide industries cannot be overlooked. The very industries that were supposed to be immune to Japanin particular, those in high-technologyare coming under the increasing control of that country's firms. This book deals with the issue of global competitiveness, analyzing the transition that Japan has made from being a technological follower to a technological leader, and it provides a fuller understanding of the strategic use of technology by Japanese companies. David Methe focuses his study on the integrated circuit, a crucial development that affects numerous high technology products. How the Japanese were able to dominate a vital industry that had been invented and pioneered by the United States is a profoundly important question for American companies that wish to become internationally competitive.Based on two years' of primary research conducted in Japan, Methe stresses the importance of technological strategy, and how it can be used by companies to compete effectively. From his interviews with CEOs of leading Japanese high technology firms and officials of various government agencies, Methe illustrates the subtle balance of competitive and cooperative forces, not just the cooperative aspects of industrial relations, that played a critical role in Japan's emergence as a major innovator in semiconductor technology. Noting the same competitive balance in government-sponsored research, he develops his central thesis that there are reciprocal relationships between the characteristics of technological innovations, a firm's strategic approach to technology, and public policy. Finally, Methe turns his findings toward U.S. firms engaged in the next stage of global competition, fully assembling the implications and suggesting planning strategies that will be effective in the international marketing of high technology products. Companies involved in the manufacture, marketing, and sales of high technology products will find this work to be an invaluable resource tool, as will students in business and marketing programs and public and academic libraries.
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