Governnent-controlled enterprises in standardization in the catching-up context: Case of TD-SCDMA in China

Ping Gao, Xudong Gao, Guanyu Liu (Corresponding)

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In this article we analyze the case of TD-SCDMA system standardization in China. Specifically, we focus on the leading role that government-controlled enterprises (GCEs) played in the standardization, and how the Chinese government supported GCEs. The case study findings advance current knowledge on how governments support standardization efforts in a catching-up context. We found that, under strong government support and with GCEs’ leadership, a latecomer country such as China, with certain technological capabilities and in economic, social, and institutional contexts that favor indigenous innovation, can pursue path-breaking innovation with complex technological systems. Governments should engage in various tactics to support GCEs that lead the standardization process. Most importantly, governments should intervene in scoping decisions on technological systems and research and development forces in the standard development stage, and offer moral suasion in the standard diffusion stage. We provide practical implications for governments that support GCEs in technology catching-up.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-58
Number of pages14
JournalIEEE Transactions on Engineering Management
Issue number1
Early online date20 Jul 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2021


  • 3G mobile communication
  • China
  • Government
  • Technological innovation
  • Time division synchronous code division multiple access
  • government-controlled enterprises (GCEs)
  • government-sponsored standardization
  • standard
  • technology catching-up
  • third generation (3G)
  • time-division synchronous CDMA (TD–SCDMA)

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Global Development Institute


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