The evolution of the North East England electronics sector

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Regional policymakers have often looked to high tech clusters as a source of growth, particularly in IT and electronics. The North East of England experienced a growing electronics industry in the 1990s which became adopted by local policymakers as an opportunity for cluster policy. This chapter explores the precursors of this nascent cluster through the development of branch plants prior to 1980 and their subsequent closures, the emergence of locally owned businesses and a new round of foreign owned plants in the 1980s and 1990s. Whilst the region aspired to a satellite platform form of cluster, this was a failure as the multinationals withdrew in the 2000s and shifted production elsewhere in Europe and Asia. The chapter illustrates the difficulties of developing clusters through policies focused on Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). What survived was a growing digital sector which was rooted in indigenous growth and with little connection to the former electronics cluster.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationIndustrial Clusters
Subtitle of host publicationKnowledge, Innovation Systems and Sustainability
EditorsJohn F. Wilson, Chris Corker, Joe Lane
Place of PublicationNew York, US
PublisherTaylor & Francis
Number of pages27
ISBN (Electronic)9781003036357
ISBN (Print)9780367465223
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2022

Publication series

NameRoutledge International Studies in Business History


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