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Against the background of intense international competition, companies are attempting to select optimum bases for their activities in an effort to achieve advantage. In order to do so, there are two aspects: the objective of securing competitiveness mainly in terms of cost, and the objective of facilitating entry into markets of counties where bases are located. The percentage of research and development taking place overseas is increasing ( Fig. 2 ), and the shift overseas of research and development functions is progressing. This is thought to be to enable companies to provide products closely related to local needs in a timely manner. In recent years, while production bases for mass-produced core products are being shifted overseas where advantages exist, there is a tendency to leave research and development bases that carry out development and trial manufacture of high added value products within Japan, in an effort to maintain the level of infrastructure technology.
The companies of various countries, including Japan, are actively engaged in cross-border technical tie-ups in a bid to share risks and costs, and to promote the optimum use of resources. The number of such alliances increased dramatically from the 1980s to the 1990s. In particular in the fields of IT and life sciences which have become increasingly important in recent years, the number of technical tie-ups is increasing dramatically. However, the number of technical tie-ups involving Japanese companies is in decline ( Fig. 3 ).
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