Structure, nature and determinants of international production networks in East Asia
: the automobile industry

  • Shahrun Abdul Aziz

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


    The objective of this thesis is to make a contribution to the existing knowledge and understanding of the structure, nature and determinants of East Asia’s automobile production networks. To understand the structure of East Asia’s automobile production, we explored the trade networks in terms of the major roles played by each East Asian country, their main trading partners, and the network patterns for the years 1990, 1995, 2000, 2005 and 2010. After understanding the structure of East Asia’s production networks, we then explored the nature of such networks by means of some related indices. Consequently, through the use of gravity equations, we were able to investigate the determinants of the automobile trade level for East Asian countries given their position in the international production networks.

    The findings of this thesis indicate that East Asia’s automobile networks are expanding over time and there exists a trend toward exporting parts and components for domestic assembly in view of the local market. In terms of the production network, the role of some countries such as Malaysia and Singapore remains unchanged, while the role of other countries such as China, Indonesia and the Philippines had expanded from importers to exporters of auto parts and components. Meanwhile, the role of Thailand has changed dramatically during the same period, i.e. from an importer of auto parts, components and final automobiles in the 1990s to an exporter of auto parts, components and final automobiles in the decade that followed. The findings also suggested that the main actor, i.e. Japan, played a major role in the transformation of the auto industry in East Asia during this period, with it now importing auto parts and components from its East Asian partners and also exporting auto parts and components to Thailand which then exports them as final goods. In addition, IPNs structure and nature, government policies as well as the role played by Japanese MNCs are the important determinants that boosted the development of East Asia’s auto industry.
    Date of Award2016
    Original languageEnglish
    SponsorsMinistry of Higher Education, Malaysia & Sultan Idris Education University
    SupervisorPaul Allanson (Supervisor) & Dennis Petrie (Supervisor)


    • International Production Networks
    • Automobile Industry
    • East Asia
    • Vertical Specilaisation

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