Announcing: Walsh, John and Lavanchawee Sujarittanonta, “Connectivities of the Special Economic Zones of the Greater Mekong Subregion,” paper presented at the 2013 International Conference on Asia-Pacific Studies (November 7-9th, 2013, National Sun Yat Sen University, Kaohsiung).
The countries of the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) have embraced the concepts of industrial estates and special economic zones (SEZs) as a means of encouraging inward investment and low labour cost export-oriented manufacturing. SEZs represent new places of production which should be linked to places of consumption – markets – as well as sources of raw materials, semi-finished goods, new employees and so forth. One form of connectivity takes the form of transportation infrastructure, which is spreading quite rapidly as part of the Asian Highway Network. However, there are other forms of connectivity which are important for successful organizational operations. These include virtual links, intra- and inter-firm communications and state-firm relations mediated by those agencies mandated to administer SEZ projects in the public sector. It is hypothesized that the greater the level of connectivity between SEZs and between SEZ units and local units then the greater the amount of value added in the production process and, hence, of the value to the local economy as a whole. It is further hypothesized that the deepening and broadening of connections between SEZ-based units and local units will intensify the internationalization of the local economy and will strengthen the competencies, skills and technology of the local units. These issues are explored through a case study approach to a variety of SEZ projects in the GMS and the analysis is used to formulate recommendations for practitioners and government agencies.
Keywords: connectivity, Greater Mekong Subregion, infrastructure, Special Economic Zone
Dr John Walsh is Director of the SIU Research Centre, Editor of the SIU Journal of Management and Assistant Professor at the School of Management, Shinawatra University, Thailand.
Dr Lavanchawee Sujarittanonta is a faculty member at I-Hsou University, Taiwan.