Leapfrogging Under A Sequential Investment Strategy

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Hyung Rok Yim


Sequential Investments; Leapfrogging; OLS; R&D; Production


A common FDI pattern observed across Korean parents investing in China is that they invest sequentially. Revoking that Korean parents are intended to achieve production efficiency in China, the economies of scale of a sequential investment strategy is relatively lower compared to a large scale one-shot investment; however, the latest production technologies can be applied to sequentially established subsidiaries, which can open a strategic pathway to leapfrog other competitors in the long run. A game model is constructed to demonstrate that as longer the Korean parents are expected to stay in China, they are better off by pursuing a sequential investment strategy. Unfortunately, this result does not mean that they can leapfrog competitors through sequential investment strategy. This can happen only when they begin with larger resource endowments. The model predicts that, under the lack of resources in establishing Chinese subsidiaries, Korean firms’ leapfrogging through sequential investment strategy can occur if technology shocks occur to follow-up investments after an initial investment is done. A scenario approach is performed to prove this prediction empirically. It turns out that the firm value of those Korean parents that pursue sequential investment strategy increases the most when the longer they operate in China and when their research and development investments are higher at the same time. Also, as they stay longer in China, they are intended to make more sequential investments.


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