This study analyzes the characteristics of multinational corporations (MNCs) with respect to the direct investment and technology transfer of which they are capable, and surveys the status of MNCs from Japan, the United States, and other countries that exert significant influence on the Korean economy. The goal is to enable Korean companies to better prepare for increasing competition with MNCs.
MNCs have become a major subject matter of policy studies put forward by international organizations, such as the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the United Nations (UN), since the 1970s. Details of the definition may vary from organization to organization, but an MNC commonly refers to a corporation whose business operations, via subsidiaries and branches, transcend the boundaries of the country from which it originates.
The growing importance of advanced technology on the international market can hardly be overemphasized today, with businesses trading not only goods, but also technologies, information, and expertise with one another. MNCs tend to penetrate new markets by making direct investments, usually in market research, launching or supporting research and development, transferring expert knowledge, or establishing subsidiaries.
MNCs’ investment in Korea is concentrated in low-cost, high-profit industries, which claim 46 percent of total investment. The 169 investment projects concerning radio, television, communications, and related equipment manufacturing industries account for 21 percent of the total investment. There are also 126 investment projects involving textiles and shoes, and 76 more concerning other items of light manufacturing, in addition to 67 projects involving machinery and 104 projects for manufacturing various simple goods. About 35 percent of these investment projects involve USD 100,000 or less each, and 70 percent of the overall projects involve USD 300,000 or less each.
The majority of these investments come from MNCs established in Japan and the United States. Japanese MNCs, in particular, account for over 80 percent of all MNC investment projects, or 695 projects. American MNCs account for 85 projects, and all other countries for 96 projects. Japanese MNCs may be funding the greatest number of investment projects, but at least 70 percent of them are relatively small-scale, limited to around USD 300,000 each. As for technology transfers to Korea, Japanese MNCs make up 62 percent, and American MNCs 22 percent. However, technology transfers through licensing form the vast majority of such projects (approximately 79 percent), while foreign direct investment accounts for less than 10 percent of the total amount of foreign capital that Korea receives annually.
MNCs pioneer markets worldwide through increasingly diversified channels and arrangements, and are also increasing the size of their investments. There is also a growing number of MNCs with their parent companies in more than one country. While the importance of MNCs is on the rise, the role and functions of MNCs tend to differ from country to country according to market environments and characteristics. This study also reveals that MNCs’ investments overseas are determined by factors far more diverse than licensing only, and include the estimated demand, the comparative advantages, company policies, and the laws of the investee countries.
다국적기업의 직접투자와 기술도입(Direct investment and technology transfer from multinational corporations)
|Journal Title; Vol./Issue||한국개발연구:vol. 1(no. 4)|
|Subject Country||South Korea(Asia and Pacific)|
|Subject||Industry and Technology < Science/Technology
Industry and Technology < Entrepreneurship
|Holding||KDI; KDI School|