Network Building in the Innovation Journey: How Chinese Science Institutes Jump on the Nanotech Bandwagon

Volume 06, Issue 2

This article examines the process in which Chinese science actors undertook nanotechnology research as an innovation journey. In this journey, Chinese science actors sought domestic and overseas networks to overcome resource and infrastructural constraints. To analyze salient issues at different stages of this journey, I draw on an established framework from the literature of technology innovation. Thus, the “Chinese nanotech innovation journey” is divided into five temporal stages. My findings suggest that network resources are able to compensate for an inadequate infrastructure in significant ways. Yet, the utility of networks depended on overcoming communication difficulties and trust barriers and the adoption of a learning-by-doing attitude. This research combines quantitative data and ethnographic fieldwork. In the conclusion, I discuss the broader implications of this research and directions for further studies.

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