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Lunchtime Seminar- 'Give us ideas! - Building innovativeness through strategic direction of intra-firm technology transfers'

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Event information
Date 16 March 2022
Time 13:00-14:30 (Timezone: Europe/London)
Price Free
Venue Online
Event types:

You are cordially invited to attend a research seminar by Dr Kerstin Schaefer, London School of Economics and Political Science, in Room 108, HBS on Wednesday 16th March, at 13.00.

For those who cannot attend in person please follow the link in your calendar email invitation, when circulated, to join the seminar.

If you have not received the Teams invitation please contact Ellie Biggs.


The research presented addresses the role of a Chinese firms’ global technology transfer activities for developing state-of-the-art technology. We analyze the organization of exchange between the different locations of the corporation via deliberately organized R&D processes, by employing a mixed-method design that combines quantitative patent data and qualitative interviews based on a case study of Huawei Technologies. The results show that the company divides research and development between established Western and domestic Chinese locations, transferring offshore employees’ innovative ideas to develop them into products in China. This requires the Chinese locations to have absorptive capacity, which was established in the initial stage of the company’s R&D internationalization. A survival analysis of the data shows that the direction of idea transfer from offshore to domestic locations takes on average only 2.3 years compared to the 4.4 years it takes in the opposite direction. It becomes evident that despite them being more difficult to transfer, complex technologies are transferred more quickly than simpler technologies, indicating that strategic priorization of inward technology transfer overcomes impediments related to the technology itself. We find that this systematic transfer of new ideas bridges Huawei’s lack of domestic innovation capability. However, there is evidence that the company has recently started speeding up the transfer of ideas from its domestic locations to its offshore locations, indicating an increasing ambidexterity of R&D organization.