Hybridized industrial ecosystems and the makings of a new developmental infrastructure in East Asia's green energy sector

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In the midst of intensifying global competition over green energy systems, Korean and Taiwanese companies are rapidly rising as serious exporters of smart microgrids. What explains the emergence of an East Asian presence in the global green energy sector? My core argument is that policymakers in Korea and Taiwan view smart microgrids strategically as a new developmental infrastructure, which will help position domestic firms onto a new competitive footing. I show that in Korea, this is taking place through the state’s leveraging of the nation’s innovation champions – globally leading chaebol or conglomerates and their networks of small and medium enterprise (SME) suppliers in the domestic market. In Taiwan, the state has leveraged government research institutes and their rich networks with internationally competitive SMEs and with large domestic firms. These efforts reflect the creation of a new form of public and private cooperation, which I refer to as ‘hybridized industrial ecosystems’. These institutional mutations in the green energy sector suggest that the state’s transformative capacity has been expanding, not shrinking as many recent writers on the developmental state conclude. Overall, the findings from this fresh new sector represents the unfolding of a new chapter of developmental thinking in East Asia.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)158-182
Number of pages25
JournalReview of International Political Economy
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Bibliographical note

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  • smart grids
  • microgrids
  • technology infrastructure
  • developmental states
  • Korea
  • Taiwan
  • green energy
  • renewable power
  • hybridized industrial ecosystems
  • governed interdependence
  • East Asia


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