Asian Aeronautics:

Technology Acquisition Drives Industry Development

NSIAD-94-140: Published: May 4, 1994. Publicly Released: Jun 3, 1994.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the aeronautics research and development (R&D) activities of Japan, China, Indonesia, and Taiwan, focusing on the: (1) approaches these nations use to develop their aeronautics industries; (2) level of aeronautics development each country has achieved; and (3) implications of this development for the U.S. aeronautics industry.

GAO found that: (1) the four Asian nations studied are acquiring technologies developed in the West, building lower-priced aeronautics products, and trying to improve those products over time; (2) these Asian countries are attempting to develop domestic R&D infrastructures in order to enhance acquired technologies; (3) Asian aeronautics industries are characterized by strong government support, importation of technologies, emphasis on applied research, and direct links between military and civilian aeronautics projects; (4) Asian aeronautics industries are not equally developed and can be expected to continue to develop at varying rates because of differences in their political and economic environments; (5) it appears unlikely that Asian aeronautics companies will compete directly with American aircraft builders; and (6) some industry observers are concerned that, in the long term, cooperative aeronautics technology transfer to Asia could help create a new competitor for the U.S. aeronautics industry.

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