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Zeitschrift für Wirtschaftsgeographie

The German Journal of Economic Geography

Editor-in-Chief: Henn, Sebastian / Thomi, Walter

Managing Editor: Schäfer, Susann

IMPACT FACTOR increased in 2015: 0.607

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2015: 0.315
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2015: 0.380
Impact per Publication (IPP) 2015: 0.439

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Emergence through branching and evolution

The automation industry in Penang, Malaysia

Leo van Grunsven1 / Inge Witte1


Citation Information: Zeitschrift für Wirtschaftsgeographie. Volume 56, Issue 1-2, Pages 168–184, ISSN (Online) 2365-7693, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/zfw.2012.0012, October 2015

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Evolutionary economic geography proposes regional branching as a mode of industry emergence and development. It is claimed that branching enhances performance and evolution. In this article we investigate the relevance of regional branching and this claim in the context of Southeast Asia’s late-industrialization. We report research into the industrial automation industry in Penang, Malaysia.We first demonstrate that the emergence of this industry conforms well to regional branching. We show that despite this mode of genesis, industry development has stalled at an early stage and its evolution shows bifurcation: amongst the firms there are growers but also - and substantially more - stagnators. We offer a framework for understanding regional branching in late-industrialization context and for understanding differential performance/evolution. Applying this framework to our research context we find that regional branching, stalling, and the occurrence of stagnators and only a few growers can be understood from factors and hampering/ conducive circumstances at the levels of the industry, the region and individual firms.

Keywords: regional branching; automation industry; evolution; Penang; Malaysia

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