The Hungarian economy is highly integrated in global value chains (GVC). Upgrading within GVCs is a key factor of sustaining the initial developmental push GVC participation provides. The article concentrates on R&D-based upgrading opportunities and their practical implementation by multinationals’ Hungarian subsidiaries in the automotive and electronics sectors. The content and the development of R&D activities; Hungary’s locational advantages for R&D projects, and their local impact are analysed based on interviews with twenty foreign-owned companies in the two selected sectors. We show that local R&D units’ activity is multifaceted, though they feature similar upgrading trajectories. Investors’ motivations: the knowledge- and efficiency-seeking nature of their projects and the related locational advantages are examined. We demonstrate that local R&D-intensive subsidiaries have a limited local impact except for the intensive contacts with local universities — with varying content and motives on the side of the R&D units. Drawing on our findings we formulate economic policy recommendations about the ways to foster and enhance R&D-based upgrading.
The immediate effects of COVID-19 on the global flows of foreign direct investment (FDI) were devastating, resulting in a large drop. Flows to the Visegrad countries were also affected but less than the world average. The fall in FDI was the result of underlying trends that started before the pandemic but accentuated by the latter, creating a “perfect storm”. These secular trends include the digitalisation of production and the birth of Industry 4.0, resulting in more asset-light international production and reorganisations of company networks, the sustainability imperative, making the impact of FDI more relevant than its quantity, and a slowdown in the liberalisation of the policy framework for FDI both in individual countries and at the multilateral level. The recovery of FDI from the shock of 2020 is expected to be long and it will be impossible to return to the pre-pandemic structural and geographical patterns. Building resilience and diversification of production at the expense of the search for the lowest-cost locations will be the top priorities of investors, forcing the host countries to revise their investment promotion strategies focused on cost reduction. In the Visegrad countries, the model based on low labour costs will sooner or later reach its limits.
In this article we rely on the concept of “international new ventures” (INV), and concentrate on the analysis of two research propositions in the case of selected Hungarian INVs, based on company interviews in two selected industries, biotechnology and information technology. First, we analyse the criteria of the selection of foreign markets in the internationalisation of these firms and second, the role of networks in the internationalisation process of selected Hungarian INVs. Our results highlight the typical internationalisation pattern of targeting the largest developed foreign markets globally. In terms of the role of networks in internationalisation, we found evidence of the decisive role of networks in all cases examined. The personal network of the founder(s) was emphasised, especially in winning early clients. The scalability of the personal network-based business model was, however, questioned. The management implications of our findings suggest Hungarian INVs need to intensify their involvement in international communities supporting the growth of such companies. Areas for potential future research include comparing our findings with empirical results from other countries in Central-Eastern Europe.
There has been an increase in outward foreign direct investment (FDI) and in the number of locally-owned or controlled multinationals in the Czech Republic and Hungary. However, data problems hinder to determine accurately the underlying trends and the main factors behind the changes. Data on outward FDI contain investment realised by all locally operational firms, regardless of their ownership. We rely on newly available balance of payments manual 6 (BPM) data and on company case studies. We show that outward investment by Czech firms must be much higher than what balance of payments data show. Hungary's case is the opposite. The leading Czech and Hungarian foreign investor firms can be categorised as “virtual indirect” foreign investors: they are in majority foreign ownership, but under domestic control. The reason for this special type of firms dominating in outward foreign direct investments can be found in the privatisation technique applied in these countries during the transition process.
Authors:Katalin Antalóczy, Tamás Gáspár, and Magdolna Sass
The length, the composition, the quality and the characteristics of value chains essentially determine the corporate as well as the macroeconomic performance of the economic sectors and industries. Hungary has a strong tradition in the pharmaceutical industry but its dynamising impact seems to be limited on the economy. The aim of this paper is to detect and reveal the specialties of the Hungarian pharmaceutical industry both in space and time by a value chain analysis. Our method is partly quantitative, we use an input-output analysis; and partly qualitative, relying on interviews with the representatives of pharmaceutical companies. We found that the Hungarian pharma value chain is really special, having relatively short backward and forward linkages with mainly indirect value-added contribution as well as high import content of exports. However, our company interviews revealed the fundamental differences between original and generic value chains – i.e. again a pharma industry-specific distinction. Having relatively little original and more substantial generic production in Hungary explains much of the value chain specialties, which leaves its mark on the limited impact of the industry on the national economy.