Spatial Integration of Corporate R&D and Mass Production Activities in High-tech Manufacturing: A Case Study of Samsung Electronics

Kyung-Min Nam
2009 The Korea Spatial Planning Review  
This paper argues that the high-tech manufacturing sector's location pattern in favor of the Capital Region is a key variable that can explain both divergent local manufacturing performance and Korea's monocentric economic geography. My major findings from the case study of Samsung Electronics (SEC) can be summarized as follows. First, high-tech firms have strong incentives to integrate their R&D and manufacturing divisions spatially, because this can encourage process innovation and save
more » ... ntial time for problem solving in existing production lines. Second, high-quality human resources, essential for corporate management and R&D activities, are difficult to access outside the Capital Region. Thus, uneven geographical distribution of high-quality human resources, combined with the strong need for spatial integration between R&D and mass production divisions, caused the uneven distribution of the high-tech manufacturing sector. My findings in this paper suggest that (i) non-Capital-Region economies will be able to attract high-tech manufacturing jobs only after creating a sizable local pool of national talent, and (ii) people-targeting regional policies can be more effective than firm-targeting policies in creating the dynamics for interregional convergence.
doi:10.15793/kspr.2009.62..007 fatcat:ldnlecmbxfcmnbnnszm2yzajru