Fostering Technological Industries in Developing States

Fostering Technological Industries in Developing States

Though the extent to which each country has achieved technological advancement varies across borders, many developing areas specifically, have made progress with their endeavours; one such example is the Asian Tigers. The Asian Tigers are comprised of Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, and Taiwan. They were considered relatively poor during the 60s, but were able to completely revolutionize their industries and enter into the world market. Although many people believed that this active involvement would not last, the region has remained successful in that it has survived many economic crises since its initial entrance. This success was achieved by them primarily focusing on an export-driven model of economic development, while also developing better education systems on the side to help create a new generation of skilled workers. Furthermore, the significant investments made by the Asian firms in creating a smarter population coupled with the integration of foreign technology helped spur the development of many technological industries within their borders. Matthews also stated that Asian firms were not the “recipients of any technology transfer” but that they instead integrated any technology that they found to be useful; the argument in a sense primarily promoted the transfer of ideas and methods instead, rather than the transfer of actual products. This was paired with the idea of developing their own industries and moving away from multinational corporations.  States must realize that some form of initial investment of knowledge sharing is beneficial, but states must also work to develop its education infrastructure and further expand upon these other aspects of industry.

Malaysia hopes to completely revamp its economy by focusing on ICTs and advanced technology development, in order to reach a “high income” country status in the next few years. By primarily focusing on improving the livelihood of its population, it hopes to solidify a domestic base from which further development will stem. It is investing heavily in schools, equipping them with computers and wireless devices. Datuk Ghazali, CEO of the Multimedia Development Corporation, is in charge of Malaysia’s ICT development and he believes that improved education and access to new jobs will help keep people in Malaysia instead of leaving to work abroad. Investments and projects from international firms in part helped the country establish this new direction. Now with an educated population and plenty of job opportunities, Malaysia is on the path to becoming just as strong as other technologically advanced countries. 

The transformation within Estonia provides an ideal example of successful domestic innovation and the country’s emergence as a technological powerhouse. The Estonian Prime Minister, Mart Laar, jumpstarted the domestic economy by heavily investing in the education system, deeming Internet use a human right, as well as connecting classrooms to the Internet. Furthermore, the state created a flat income tax and liberalized trade, both of which helped to foster domestic industry. Instead of purchasing technology from other states, Estonia also created its own digital phone system. All of these efforts eventually paid off and Estonia now has more than 14,000 newly registered companies, and it is now one of the most technologically advanced countries in the region.


Regional Developments

 Countries are constantly working towards developing new technologies, establishing industries, and working to raise their standard of living. Though developed countries have in the past made relatively few attempts to help spur the development of technological industries in developing countries, such assistance is now increasingly common. For example, the United Kingdom released a statement on 22 July 2013 pledging USD 160 million in aid for the development of agricultural science and technology in developing countries. The UK hopes to develop methods of increasing agricultural yield while reducing the environmental impact and resource costs. The country’s goal is to better unite everyone that is involved or affected by the agricultural industry and to create better circumstances for these people. The UK is not the only country investing in such development; Japan recently contributed USD 5.5 million towards the creation of new programs that will help distribute the use of clean energy technology to developing countries. The United States has also made efforts towards aiding the economic growth of developing countries. Spear- headed by the ECHO Farm non-profit organization, many initiatives have been implemented to train workers in using green technology. The ECHO farm also provides them with region-specific advice about productive farming. Additionally, they develop methods of producing much needed tools like stoves, solely using the resources found within that specific country or region. By expanding similar programs in other developing countries, states can create products and develop industries for products that are unique to their own country. 

In the Middle East, the number of new technology start-ups is on the rise. Jordan is one of many start-up hubs and is home to hundreds of new firms. Start-ups are extremely beneficial in promoting economic growth, as they also help address the issue of youth unemployment in the region. For example, a private entrepreneur launched a website that compiled hundreds of cooking videos. Her success displays the potential benefits that can result from a simplistic business idea. Additionally, Maktoob, a Jordanian Internet portal was sold to Yahoo for USD 175 million. Much of the success of these two start-ups can be attributed to King Abdullah, as he influenced these business launches among others by making efforts to help spur the growth of small start-ups.

International Action and Concerns

Between 13 and 17 May 2013, the latest WSIS meeting took place in Geneva. The subjects addressed were those outlined in the first WSIS meeting in Geneva, and also included a discussion of how to promote “infrastructure development, media, e-learning, e-agriculture, access to information and knowledge, enabling environment, and business.” Some topics including fostering new green technology industries attempt to prevent further environmental damage without forfeiting manufacturing or industrialization. Future discussions can focus on issues like protecting intellectual property laws and patents. These subjects are very much at the forefront of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) advancement and have the potential to revolutionize dozens of technological industries. The topics that outlined in the Geneva WSIS contain many of the technology industry’s rising fields like green, nano and micro technology. 

An often-overlooked aspect of the dilemma is access to information, which greatly assists any attempts in creating industry because it helps answer questions and provides much needed support. Another important component is how this information is presented to the public, and that is where media plays its part. The media plays a huge role in how information is presented to the general public and how a product will be received. Therefore, it is important that media is free and allowed to publish information without hindrance, but also without bias. 

After a string of environmental disasters in the late 2000s, the world saw a huge increase in the use of mobile phones in disaster relief efforts. For example, after the Japanese Tsunami; there was a huge increase in mobile disaster warning applications. The Japanese are not the only ones to do this; the Bangladeshi government also announced a plan in which people in disaster prone areas would get a flashing message on their cell screens. This technology, and the industries that create it, can be a great new tool that is used all over the world, particularly in developing countries where the dissemination of information is not as fast or as widely implemented as in developed states. Furthermore, it is a great incentive for states to allocate more funds towards technology and the various different applications it can have. 

China’s Globalization Limitations

 State involvement in China refers to the active role that the government plays in global economic affairs, as well as its control of many of the country’s companies and banks. These state owned industries are seen as a threat and potential security risk by countries around the world because the companies are a direct appendage of the Chinese government. As a result, this involvement has limited the ability of Chinese companies to expand. One instance of such limitation is displayed with the attempted expansion of Chinese companies into the US. The first instance was when a private Chinese firm tried to buy wind farms in Oregon. In an unprecedented move, President Obama issued a presidential order banning the purchase in late 2012. A month later, the House of Representatives banned the entrance of two Chinese telecom firms, ZTE and Huawei, from operating in the US market, citing “security risks.” More recently, the European Union also denied Chinese firms entry into the European market, although not to such extremes as the US. In May 2013, the European Union decided to launch an investigation into two Chinese companies over illegal dumping of products into markets. This is an excellent example of the potential fallout from excessive government involvement in different industries. As developing states race to make themselves more attractive to investments and foreign expansion, there is a strong possibility that developed countries will hinder the expansion of technology industry from developing countries or abstain from foreign investment for political reasons. This holds particularly true in fields of communication and security, where a company’s relationship with the government are particularly scrutinized. 


About the Author
Author: Anant Mishra
Anant Mishra is a former youth representative United Nations.Almost 4 years of experience, he has served in number of committees including United Nations Conference for Trade and Development and Economic and Social Council primarily focusing on international trade, finance, economics. food crisis and disputes. Currently he is serving as a Mentor & a Member for the organising committee of Global Entrepreneurship Summit 2014. He is also the state convener, chhattisgarh for a nation wide think tank, Centre for Education Growth and Research, New Delhi. Beside this he is an editor, foreign affairs for political mirror, columnist for business digest and iReporter for the CNN. He is also an author for the Indian Economic Review, an yearly journal for Delhi School of Economics.

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