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Geographies of Value Chain Construction in Emerging Complex Technologies: A Compparative Study of the Electric Vehicle Lithium-ion Battery Industry in China and Germany


We are currently witnessing accelerating shifts of global leadership in many emerging industries, fueled by increasing digitalization and globalization, as well as pressing concerns about grand socio-ecological challenges. GEVACCON maintains that the challenge for gaining industrial leadership is to manage innovation in emerging complex industries-- namely, new industries that consist of complex relationships regarding technological, geographical and governance characteristics. The extant literature on innovation and industry dynamics is poorly prepared to deal with the increasing complexity of emerging industries in these three dimensions, and hence offers little insight to actors who want to gain leadership in the emerging global innovation races.The overarching motivation of GEVACCON, therefore, is to investigate the geographies of value chain construction in emerging complex industries by taking into account complexity in the abovementioned three aspects. As a representative case of emerging complex industry, the value chain construction processes of the electric vehicle lithium-ion battery (EV-LIB) industry in China and Germany will be investigated. By 1)systematically synthesizing three literature streams: innovation system studies, economic geography, value chain governance, as well as by 2)exploring how battery manufacturers in these two countries mobilize and utilize different resources from different parts of the world, and integrate those elements in their value chain construction processes, GEVACCON aims to develop a comprehensive analytical framework in disentangling the value chain construction in complex technology industries. Moreover, given the accelerating shifts of global leadership in many of the emerging complex industries, it also aims to draw competitive strategies for both newcomers and incumbents in the new generation of innovation competitions. Empirical analysis will be based on semi-structured interviews as well as patent data analysis.

Call for proposal

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Funding Scheme

MSCA-IF-EF-ST - Standard EF


Uberlandstrasse 133
8600 Dubendorf
Activity type
EU contribution
€ 191 149,44