Andrea Szalavetz (2019), “Artificial intelligence-based development strategy in dependent market economies–Any room amidst big power rivalry?”, Central European Business Review, 8(4), pp. 40-54.
This paper investigates whether the activities of start-ups specialising in artificial intelligence (AI)-powered solutions could contribute to upgrading in dependent market economies. Mapping the ecosystem of Hungarian AI-solution providers, collecting, and analysing data of their solutions, activities, and performance, we identify the main mechanisms of AI-driven upgrading. We argue that AI-solution providers induce productivity and resource efficiency improvement at technology adopters by enabling process upgrading. By selling their services to the local subsidiaries of global companies, they intensify the local backward linkages of these companies. Increased local embeddedness of subsidiaries is an important manifestation of economic upgrading. Additionally, AI-solution providers diversify the drivers of growth. In dependent market economies, where export-oriented manufacturing activities controlled by efficiency-seeking foreign investors used to be the main (unique) growth engine, the activities of domestic-owned AI solution providers represent a new driver of growth: technology-oriented entrepreneurship. We found, however, that the economic impact of Hungarian AI-oriented ventures is limited, no matter how innovative their solutions are. Managerial implications include the indispensability of devising an adequate business development strategy and a value capture strategy. Without adequate entrepreneurial skills, and without being visible on the global stage of ‘AI-start-ups to watch’, the development prospects of even the most innovative ventures are limited. A key policy implication for supporting the scaling up of AI start-ups by promoting the adoption of AI-powered solutions and stimulating venture capital financing promises good return on public investments.
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