Technological Strategies of Multinational Companies 

Determinants and Implications for Local Technological Capabilities
1- In recent years, companies have been developing a variety of strategies aimed at strengthening their relationships with global networks of supply, production and marketing of goods and services. In this context, multinational companies are focusing on the organisation of their assets and the creation of new technologies in order to strengthen their competitive capacity in the economy.

2- This study examines the strategies implemented by subsidiaries of multinationals located in Brazil to accumulate technological capabilities and thus identify the technological patterns in these firms. We believe that understanding the diversity of technological strategies implemented by multinationals should help policy makers to define policies oriented to effectively regulate foreign direct investment and, in turn, generate more attractive spillovers for the economy as a whole.

3- A statistical study carried out in 1996 on nearly 450 companies located in Brazil and controlled by foreign capital revealed three different patterns of technological effort in these companies. A first group of companies bases its strategy on the acquisition of brands, know-how, patents and technical assistance, which we will call "disembodied" or immaterial technology orientation. A second group engages more in the acquisition of local resources, in the form of domestic capital goods, human resources employed in Research and Development (R&D) activities. The third group focuses more on the acquisition of imported capital goods. Furthermore, this study also shows that the diversity of technological strategies is influenced by economic factors such as the sector of activity, the size of the firm and the nationality of the foreign capital.

4- Our study will follow the following outline. The first part presents an analytical framework (under construction) to analyse the empirical results. The second part presents the methodology used, including the database, variables and statistical methods. The third part presents the empirical results and their respective analysis. Finally, the last part presents the conclusions regarding the main findings of this study.

5- In order to better understand the strategies of subsidiaries of multinationals located in Brazil in terms of technological effort, and to better understand their determinants and effects in terms of technological capabilities, we will take the initiative to combine a set of distinct analytical frameworks.

6First, we will explore some corporate strategies, and in particular the technological strategies of multinationals and the way they organise their technological assets abroad. This approach is very important for two reasons. The first is that it can provide a means of understanding the architecture of the affiliates of multinational companies around the world, especially in terms of the extent of internationalisation of technological efforts to innovate in host countries. Second, and not least, it opens a "black box" that reveals that the largest multinationals in the same industry from different countries have different technology strategies in host countries.