Report of the 12th meeting

At your autumn meeting at the AJG in Toyama Prof. Yasuhisa Abe (Kyushu Univ.) presented this research entitled Composition of inter-firm relations and localization of workers of Japanese-affiliated electric firms in China; and Prof. Atsushi Taira (Kagawa Univ.) spoke about relations between foreign operations of Japanese local industries and their home regions. Finally, Prof. Rolf D. Schlunze communicated the efforts of SIEM preparing an international symposium at the 2015 AJG Spring Meeting and a special session at the fourth global conference of economic geography in Oxford. Find below a short summary of the presentations.

Prof. Abe presented in his paper a case study of a sales subsidiary that handles intermediate goods for a large Japanese electronics and electric parts manufacturer in Shanghai. In the study he researched how vertically disintegrated business transactions affected customer makeup, localization of human resources, and the relationship between the Japanese head office and local subsidiaries. Japanese electronics and electric parts manufacturer have often undertaken the sale of intermediate goods combining sales to Chinese makers and Japanese manufacturers within their own business group. The survey focused on market and human resource strategy to respond to vertical disintegration as well as vertical integration. It was suggested that it is necessary to improve efficiency of cross-border transactions and speed-up decision making by building support systems in the global value chain.

Prof. Taira explained about the relations between overseas operations and the locality of the local industries facilitating a case study on glove industry. The glove-related industry had majority shares in the domestic market based on their advanced knowledge and technology but faced recently the struggle to survive in an increasingly competitive world. Following a as the “China-plus-one” strategy the majority of products of this industry are made in China and Southeast Asia. Prof. Taira concluded that clarification of the importance of the locality and reorganizing overseas operations are critical for local industries in Japan. A competitive model of the local industrial complex was introduced that promotes internationalization of management through flexible alliances and keeping the function of R&D in the locality or so called jiba. Levering diversity and heterogeneity in the complex localities helps to create competitive firms succeeding in the global market environment.

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