This paper analyses the relationship of the accumulation of technological competencies at the firm level, the spatial distribution of the firm’s innovation networks and the degree of novelty of product innovation. Firm-based primary data collected in two innovative regions in emerging economies are used to predict higher degrees of novelty in emerging economy firms. Similarly to advanced economy firms, the results show that international linkages are associated with higher degrees of novelty. However, new-to-the-world innovation in emerging country firms is fundamentally externally driven, suggesting that international linkages seem to be a compensating mechanism for the initially lower technological capabilities rather than a complementary source of knowledge.
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