Seoul Journal of Economics - Vol. 26 , No. 1

[ Article ]
Seoul Journal of Economics - Vol. 26, No. 1, pp. 113-146
Abbreviation: SJE
ISSN: 1225-0279 (Print)
Print publication date 28 Feb 2013
Received 25 Sep 2012 Revised 23 Dec 2012 Accepted 15 Jan 2013

From Self-Innovation to International Standardization: A Case Study of TD-SCDMA in China
Yan Hui
Lecturer, School of Management, Shanghai University, No. 99, ShangDa Road, Shanghai, PRC, Tel: +86-21-66134148, Fax: +86-21-66130396 (hui.yan@shu.edu.cn)

JEL Classification: O3, O32


Time Division Synchronous Address (TD-SCDMA ) is one of three 3G standards in China, the two others being Wideband Code Division Synchronous Address (WCDMA) from Europe and Code Division Synchronous Address (CDMA2000) from the US. TD-SCDMA is a Chinese-developed standard currently applied only in the Chinese market. From the very beginning, TD-SCDMA has caught tremendous attention. As a government-led standardization, it demands continuous technical progress, industry accumulation, and national confidence. At the time of its inception, China was not yet the second largest economy in the world; furthermore, as a developing country and technology latecomer, it faced many difficulties and challenges. Thus, it is interesting to note how the Chinese government reached the decision to apply standardization and prepare the relevant conditions to fully commercialize TD-SCDMA in China. After five years of TD-SCDMA application, more information has become available to help answer the questions above. Thus, in the current paper, we introduce the evolution of TD-SCDMA, from its very early stage technology to a standard approved by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), until its first launch during the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. The paper provides arguments and evidence to show that TD-SCDMA is a successful case because it has been selected by the ITU as one of the 3G standards for commercial application, even though it is a standard used only domestically in a country, which is considered a technology latecomer with low technological capabilities.

Keywords: Innovation, Standardization, China, Telecom industry

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