Global Technology and Local Society: Developing a Taiwanese and Korean Bioeconomy Through the Vaccine Industry

Volume 09, Issue 2

This article discusses approaches to forming a bioeconomy in Korea and Taiwan and presents examples of vaccine industrialization in the context of a dual-structured global vaccine market. The dual structure comprises high-priced vaccines manufactured by large companies that use advanced technology and traditional low-cost vaccines. During the mid-1980s, both Taiwan and Korea engaged in industrializing hepatitis B vaccines, which were among the first high-priced vaccines in the world. However, the countries developed into different market structures during the past quarter century. This study involved analyzing approaches to developing a bioeconomy in Korea and Taiwan by using a symmetrical approach that explained both the success and failure of technology in a society. We used networks as constructive elements of the bioeconomy to argue that two heterogeneous networks, production and adoption, were critical for constructing the local vaccine market and industry. Korea and Taiwan are characterized according to two network configurations: regeneration and translation, respectively. In Korea, the production network was formed before the adoption network. The production network regenerates vaccines to influence the adoption network. By contrast, the adoption network translates and defines the production network in Taiwan. It implies that, for vaccine technology learners such as Taiwan and Korea to develop the bioeconomy, a local society of translational or regenerative network configuration is as essential as the developmental state.

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