National Firm Leaders

Alice H. Amsden

in The Rise of “The Rest”

Published in print February 2001 | ISBN: 9780195139693
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199832897 | DOI:
National Firm Leaders

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After floundering for a century, the successful late industrializing countries (the rest) succeeded in creating professionally managed, large‐scale, national firms, although their importance varied by country. The mix of a country's business structures by size and ownership (private or public, foreign or national) influenced the level of its investment in skills. The long‐term strategic ‘make‐or‐buy’ technology choice was a function of firm composition. The process whereby a latecomer succeeds or fails to create a corps of ‘national firm leaders’ is the subject of this chapter. A national leader may be understood as a nationally owned and controlled firm that is ‘targeted’ by government (it receives a disproportionate share of ‘intermediate assets’), which allows it to become a dominant player in its ‘competitive base’ (domestic market), in exchange for which it is obliged to invest heavily in proprietary knowledge‐based assets; these assets, in turn, allow it to globalize through exporting or outward foreign direct investment.

Keywords: competition; exports; firm size; foreign direct investment; globalization; industrial development; investment; knowledge‐based assets; late industrialization; national firm leaders; newly industrialized countries; ownership; skills

Chapter.  23320 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Economic History

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