The Case of Singapore
Despite their growing importance in world trade and investment, Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) have not received the research attention they deserve. In particular, not much is known about their performance and technology transfer experiences in developing countries. This chapter analyses the technology transfer experiences of a small number of Singapore firms that are subsidiaries or licensees of SMEs from industrial countries.1 It is based largely on information collected in an interview-based survey carried out in May-June 1988. The survey covers 16 manufacturing firms in key industries, enough to provide a first look at the ways SMEs (defined as parent companies with less than 1000 employees) have transferred technology to Singapore, a newly-industrialising city-economy with a long-standing policy of openly welcoming foreign investment and technology. Foreign investors of many nationalities are represented in the sample. The sample firms account for around 15 per cent of the foreign manufacturing firms in Singapore whose parents fall within the definition used here for a SME.2 Though small in number, the sample firms reveal an instructive range of experiences on technology transfer. Their experiences have, however, to be placed in a historical and policy context, namely that of a rapidly-industrialising, open city economy that imposes few restrictions on foreign investments.3
KeywordsTechnology Transfer Foreign Investment Foreign Firm Parent Company Sample Firm
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