High-Tech Competition Puzzles: How Globalization Affects Firm Behavior and Market Structure in the Electronics Industry
Posted: 22 Dec 1998
This paper addresses two puzzles related to industrial dynamics and competition. The first of these puzzles is that a high degree of globalization may well go hand in hand with increasing concentration. I show that one of the most globalized sectors of the electronics industry, hard disk drives (HDD), also displays one of the highest degrees of concentration: multinational corporations, after all, may not be such effective "spoilers of concentration", as claimed by Richard Caves ( 1982). The second puzzle that I address in this paper is that, despite an extremely high degree of concentration, this industry fails to act like a stable global oligopoly. So far, market share volatility has been restricted to the oligopoly members. There are however indications that this may change and that market contestability may improve. Some possible explanations are reviewed, building on a conceptual framework introduced by G.B. Richardson (1996 and 1997). I analyze how globalization affects competition and distinguish forces that foster concentration and forces that are conducive for market disruption. I conclude with suggestions for future research on the determinants of market structure and firm behavior.
JEL Classification: D21, L11, F23, L22, L86
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation