Below the radar: what does innovation in emerging economies have to offer other low-income economies? | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 8, Issue 3
  • ISSN: 1474-2748
  • E-ISSN: 2040-0551


Between 1970 and 2000, the proportion of global R&D occurring in low-income economies rose from 2 per cent to more than 20 per cent. However, this rising commitment to R&D does not easily translate into the emergence of a family of innovations meeting the needs of low-income consumers at the bottom of the pyramid, since much of these technological resources are invested in outdated structures of innovation. A number of transnational corporations are targeting these markets, but it is our contention that much of the previously dominant innovation value chains are either ignorant of the needs of consumers at the bottom of the pyramid or lack the technologies and organizational structures to meet these needs effectively. Instead, the firms and value chains which are likely to be most successful in these dynamic new markets are those which are emerging in China and India and other developing countries, disrupting global corporate and locational hierarchies of innovation.


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