SCALE OF R&D ACTIVITY

In common with investment expenditures, overall optoelectronics industry R&D expenditures and R&D expenditures per firm are significantly larger in Japan than in the United States (Figs. 7.12 and 7.13). This gap remains even after a correction has been made for differences in purchasing power between the United States and Japan.(Endnote 4) Relatively small establishments conduct most of the optoelectronics industry R&D in Japan.


Fig. 7.12. R&D expenditures in the optoelectronics industry: Japan and the U.S., 1989-1992 (OITDA 1994; DOC 1994).


Fig. 7.13. R&D expenditures per firm in the optoelectronics industry: Japan and the U.S., 1989-1992 (OITDA 1994; DOC 1994).

Figures 7.14 - 7.20 and 7.21 - 7.27 present data on the scale of Japanese R&D activities for 33 optoelectronic product categories, organized first by the number of professional employees engaged in R&D activities, and then by the size of R&D investments. The picture overall is of an industry where most activity is occurring in companies and programs of small to modest size. Out of 33 product categories, only ROM optical disks and optical printers have more than 50% of their R&D activity in programs of larger than 125 employees; likewise, only 5 product categories displays, optical fibers, ROM optical disks, write-once optical disks, and laser processing equipment have more than 50% of their R&D activity supported by large-scale investment of more than $7.5 million.


Fig. 7.14. Distribution of R&D personnel in Japan's optoelectronics industry by program size, based on number of scientists and engineers in program -1 (OITDA 1994).


Fig. 7.15. Distribution of R&D personnel in Japan's optoelectronics industry by program size, based on number of scientists and engineers in program -2 (OITDA 1994).


Fig. 7.16. Distribution of R&D personnel in Japan's optoelectronics industry by program size, based on number of scientists and engineers in program -3 (OITDA 1994).


Fig. 7.17. Distribution of R&D personnel in Japan's optoelectronics industry by program size, based on number of scientists and engineers in program -4 (OITDA 1994).


Fig. 7.18. Distribution of R&D personnel in Japan's optoelectronics industry by program size, based on number of scientists and engineers in program -5 (OITDA 1994).


Fig. 7.19. Distribution of R&D personnel in Japan's optoelectronics industry by program size, based on number of scientists and engineers in program -6 (OITDA 1994).


Fig. 7.20. Distribution of R&D personnel in Japan's optoelectronics industry by program size, based on number of scientists and engineers in program -7 (OITDA 1994).


Fig. 7.21. Distribution of R&D investment in Japan's optoelectronics industry by program size, based on yen value of program - 1 (OITDA 1994).


Fig. 7.22. Distribution of R&D investment in Japan's optoelectronics industry by program size, based on yen value of program - 2 (OITDA 1994).


Fig. 7.23. Distribution of R&D investment in Japan's optoelectronics industry by program size, based on yen value of program - 3 (OITDA 1994).


Fig. 7.24. Distribution of R&D investment in Japan's optoelectronics industry by program size, based on yen value of program - 4 (OITDA 1994).


Fig. 7.25. Distribution of R&D investment in Japan's optoelectronics industry by program size, based on yen value of program - 5 (OITDA 1994).


Fig. 7.26. Distribution of R&D investment in Japan's optoelectronics industry by program size, based on yen value of program - 6 (OITDA 1994).


Fig. 7.27. Distribution of R&D investment in Japan's optoelectronics industry by program size, based on yen value of program - 7 (OITDA 1994).

Among the products where there is at least some evidence that large economies of scale in R&D may be present, displays, printers, and optical fibers together account for approximately one-third of the sales of all optoelectronic products globally. In 1993 the Japanese optoelectronics industry produced $5.6 billion in printers, $4.8 billion in displays, and $1.3 billion in optical fibers (see Table 7.1). ROM optical disks and write-once optical disks account for only one-fifth of the global market for optical disks, but together they have constituted that market's fastest growing segment (OIDA 1994). It is expected that until the beginning of the next century these products will occupy a significant share of the huge market for information storage (OIDA 1994).

While the Japanese large-scale research and development programs in optoelectronics are targeted on large and/or very rapidly growing product markets, there are many other areas (semiconductor lasers, to name just one example) where virtually all R&D is conducted in a large number of relatively small programs. As seen from Figure 7.14, most of the R&D in Japan on semiconductors takes place in programs of 50 or fewer employees.(Endnote 5)


Published: February 1996; WTEC Hyper-Librarian