The rate and motives of the internationalisation of large firm R&D (1994–2005): Towards a turning point?

Research Area: Internationalisation de la R D Year: 2015
Type of Publication: Article Keywords: Multinational firms, Global firms, R and D Technology, Patents, Internationalisation
  • Patricia Laurens
  • Christian Le Bas
  • Antoine Schoen
  • Lionel Villard
  • Philippe Laredo
Journal: Research Policy Volume: 44
Number: 3 Pages: 765–776
Month: April
ISSN: 0048-7333
This paper addresses the internationalisation of R&D of large multinational firms by analysing their patents from the mid-1990s to the mid-2000s. It highlights three major results. Firstly it does not reveal any significant increase of the global rate of R&D internationalisation, which remains at around 23%. This means that the national base remains prevalent in their technology production. Secondly it shows striking different regional trends: (i) a relative retraction of European firms that still remain more internationalised (30%) and have re-focused R&D in European countries, (ii) a continuing increase of the internationalisation of US firms (17%) and a very important loss of attractiveness of the US as a destination for R&D investments by non-US firms; and (iii) a rapid rise (but still limited) of Asian firm R&D internationalisation. Third, these movements did not promote, as anticipated, the role of technology-based motives (asset augmenting strategies) in the internationalisation of large firms R&D: Technology-based motives remain the most important of driver but the gap with market-based considerations has narrowed.