Comparing the knowledge bases of wind turbine firms in Asia and Europe: Patent trajectories, networks, and globalisation

Yuan Zhou, Xin Li*, Rasmus Lema, Frauke Urban

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


This study uses patent analyses to compare the knowledge bases of leading wind turbine firms in Asia and Europe. It concentrates on the following three aspects: the trajectories of key technologies, external knowledge networks, and the globalisation of knowledge application. Our analyses suggest that the knowledge bases differ significantly between leading wind turbine firms in Europe and Asia. Europe's leading firms have broader and deeper knowledge bases than their Asian counterparts. In contrast, the leading Chinese firms, with their unidirectional knowledge networks, are highly domestic in orientation with respect to the application of new knowledge. However, Suzlon, the leading Indian firm, has a better knowledge position. While our quantitative analysis validates prior qualitative studies it also brings new insights. The study suggests that European firms are still leaders in this industry, and leading Asian firms are unlikely to create new pathways that will disrupt the incumbents in the near future.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)476-491
Number of pages16
JournalScience and Public Policy
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • patent analysis
  • wind turbine firms
  • knowledge base
  • knowledge flow
  • network analysis
  • Asia and Europe

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