Divergent Patterns of Engagement in Internet Standardization: Japan, Korea and China
38 Telecommunications Policy 916-934, November 2014
38 Pages Posted: 16 Nov 2014 Last revised: 15 Sep 2016
Date Written: November 12, 2014
This article analyzes the engagement of Japanese, Korean and Chinese participants in the development of Internet standards at IETF on the basis of four quantitative metrics: attendance, patenting, authorship and leadership. The results are strikingly divergent. Japanese involvement in Internet standardization began early and Japan was, for many years, second only to the U.S. in terms of IETF participation. Though Japanese participation has declined since the early 2000s, Japan remains a major contributor to IETF standardization. Korean involvement in IETF has always been significant, but below the levels of Japan and major European countries. Korean participation in IETF has also declined over the past decade, and has been dominated by one firm, Samsung. Though meaningful Chinese involvement in IETF did not begin until the mid-2000s, it has rapidly expanded in recent years. Today, China is a major player in numerous areas of Internet standardization in terms of three metrics (participation, patenting and leadership), and is rapidly gaining in terms of document authorship as well. Most of China’s recent IETF involvement can be attributed to Huawei, though other Chinese firms have recently begun to increase their participation in the organization. Thus, contrary to some views that China’s engagement with standardization is primarily one of indigenous innovation and “catching up”, China’s experience with IETF demonstrates deliberate and effective engagement with a major Western standards-development organization on its own terms.
Keywords: IETF, standards, FRAND, RAND, Japan, Korea, China, Internet, patent
JEL Classification: L12, L86, L96, N85, O31, O34, O53
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation