Co-specialisation between a producer-user relationship; the stepping stone for a latecomer's transition
The study builds on and contributes to understanding how latecomer producers can catch up with their frontier leaders in the industry of mobile handsets. While the topic 'catch-up by latecomers' is by now a familiar one in the literature, this study focuses on 'getting in the game' rather than 'getting to the top of the game', so-called transition to a frontier. Starting from scratch, two of Korean mobile handset makers, Samsung and LG Electronics, have become the second and third biggest players behind Nokia as of 2009. While the previous literature stresses innovator's dilemma of 'do it yourself' that latecomers who want transition to a frontier level, this study contradicts the earlier idea by arguing that these Korean handset makers heavily engaged with foreign distributor networks during their transition phase and Co-specialisation was at the heart of their transition process.
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