Черных Вероника Витальевна
Выборгский филиал Российской академии народного хозяйства и государственной службы при Президенте Российской Федерации
старший преподаватель кафедры таможенного дела и внешнеэкономической деятельности, кандидат экономических наук

В статье рассмотрены последствия интернационализации локальных кластеров и определена ведущая роль и место международных кластерных структур в развитии мировой экономики. Автор анализирует процесс формирования международного кластера и уточняет категориальный аппарат международной кластеризации. Даны определения международного кластера и его подвидов – трансграничного, транснационального и глобального кластеров. В статье обоснованы ключевые характеристики международного кластера как самой эффективной формы международного экономического сотрудничества в современном глобализированном мире.

Ключевые слова: виртуальный кластер, кластеризация, международный кластер, сетевая экономика


Chernykh Veronika Vitalievna
Vyborg branch of the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration
senior lecturer of the customs and foreign economic activity department, PhD in Economics

The paper studies the consequences of the internationalization of local clusters and determines a guiding role and place of the international cluster structures in the development of the global economy. The author analyzes the process of the international cluster formation and examines the categorical apparatus of the international clustering. Definitions of international cluster and its subtypes (cross-border, transnational and global) are given. The characteristics of the international cluster as a form of international economic cooperation have been discussed; the synergistic effects of the international cluster have been formulated. The paper promotes the view, that the cluster model is the most effective factor of the development of the international economic relations in the context of globalization.

Keywords: clustering, international cluster, network economy, virtual cluster

Библиографическая ссылка на статью:
Черных В.В. The formation оf international clusters іn the world economy // Экономика и менеджмент инновационных технологий. 2016. № 11 [Электронный ресурс]. URL: https://ekonomika.snauka.ru/2016/11/13151 (дата обращения: 14.05.2024).

Introduction. Nowadays the impact of clusters on the formation of the modern territories’ economic landscape becomes more significant. Economy clustering is not just a new theoretical idea, but an effective model that is already implemented in management practices of several countries.

Surge of interest in clusters seems logical and reasonable in terms of their impact on the competitiveness of the participants and mobilization of their potential to achieve common strategic goals.However, present conditions of the world economic development require changes in the traditional approach to the analysis of clusters.

Techno-globalization and expansion of international communication flows in modern economy under conditions of post-industrial society development have led to significant changes in the structure of the world economy. The global financial crisis of 2008–2009 and its consequences set off the renewal processes of the organizational forms of international economic cooperation. In view of this, the international integration processes become crucial, and the importance of foreign economic collaboration grows within international clusters. Modern clusters extend frontiers of their activities and are way beyond the borders of individual countries.

The results of a worldwide considerable amount of researches on study of the cluster structures indicate the phenomenon of international cluster formation and its positive impact on the socio-economic development of the macro-region.

The study of the conceptual framework of the world economy international clustering becomes a current scientific challenge.

As we know, the most widespread form of economic cluster is a local cluster formed through association of independent business entities within the territory of a particular city. Overconcentration of resources (financial, investment, human, informational) in selective areas of each country contributes to the natural organization of local clusters within a particular locality. Thus, local clustering serves as a process of concentration of production resources among monocentric industrial agglomerations and improves competitiveness indicators and economic efficiency of activity of all production process participants.

Trends in the internationalization of local clusters are determined by the need to access resources outside of the cluster system. Participation of other partners (research institutions, consulting firms, banks, etc. that are outside agglomeration area) in creation of the final product of local cluster defines a new quality form of cluster – regional or national dimension of cluster interaction. If cooperation with foreign partners is implemented (such as foreign banks, TNCs, etc.), a local cluster acquires features of an international cluster structure.

Brief Literature Review. The notion of “international cluster” is rather new in modern scientific literature. However, analysis of a number of scientific publications indicates a growing interest in the issue of clusters internationalization in the days of network economy formation.

Thus, scientific works of Russian authors –Е. Islankina, M. Nazarov, E. Fiyaksel [1], K. Kostev [2], D. Kostrykin [3], A. Mikhaylov [4], S. Record [5], V. Yemelyanov [6] – are devoted to the study of the international clusters functioning in the age of global economy. Ukrainian and Belarusian researches O. Kanishchenko, N. Kuznetsova, M. Ustimenko[7], I. Peleshchak [8], D. Rutko [9] and G. Yasheva [10] in their works focus on the international cluster structures and make attempts to systematize them.

Aspects related to the internationalization of clusters are also discussed by western economists[11–16]. However, scientific works on this subject mainly highlight practical examples and international experience of the cluster structures functioning, avoiding controversial issues of determination of the economic essence and international clustering framework of categories.

Despite the presence of a great number of publications on the subject a current scientific literature does not contain a single international clusters classification. Development of a single approach to the study of international cluster formations also remains an unresolved issue.

Purpose of the article. Considering the above said the aim of the article is to highlight the conceptual framework of the international clustering and to determine the economic essence of the formation processes of the international clusters under conditions of the global economic development.

Results. Extension of the concept of classical clusters to international scale is caused by many factors. The following factors are considered to be preconditions for the international clusters emergence [4; 12; 16; 17]:

– expanding of the interaction space of enterprises in traditional clusters beyond geographical boundaries;

– complexity of innovation processes that require access to a wider pool of knowledge;

– information integration, wide spread of computer design, production and management technologies which have greatly increased the flexibility of enterprises;

– intensified competition in international markets, leading to a need for continuous adaptation of production systems to continuously changing external environment conditions;

– increased role of international economic organizations in the regulation of international trade.

The most important aspect of globalization is the economic component of the process – globalization of economic relations. Our planet is covered by a dense network of relations between states, associations of states and different economic and financial operators, private individuals and legal entities that lead to a sharp rise in interdependence of all countries and regions and result in serious economic, political, social and cultural changes for all countries and peoples.

Therefore, under the international cluster (IC) we mean a form of international economic collaboration, association of groups of independent business entities (small, medium-sized and large enterprises of different ownership forms and institutional management), which are localized іn the territory of two or more countries and work to create a common competitive product through intensive interaction, sharing of resources, exchange of knowledge and experience, technology transfer and distribution of information between the cluster participants which ultimately contributes to the international competitiveness of the member-countries and their economic and social development.

In other words, local cluster acquires features of international one by attracting foreign partners to cooperation. This process is called internationalization of local clusters.

The main characteristics of the international cluster are as follows.

Geographical proximity of the international cluster members is not considered as a source of competitive advantages. Special attention is paid to the interaction of international clusters based on common technological and organizational characteristics rather than territorial belonging and regional potential.

Cluster subjects are residents of different countries. They are tied into manufacturing chains and complement each other. The choice of location of the international cluster is associated with the presence of information flow nodes and established communication channels.

The international cluster is mainly based on the use of international specialization and international cooperation of production.

Network nature of international cluster consists in the openness of system boundaries with the possibility to change the membership, to preserve dynamism of the internal structure and high level of coherence of the cluster participants; it also consists in the fast adaptation to constantly changing external environment conditions; in the presence of emergent properties of the system and in the capacity for self-organization.

International cluster is distinguished by the presence of well-developed infrastructure for transfer of knowledge and technologies. The missing links of the value chain, general standards of production, supply management are formed and international cluster brands are actively developed in the framework of international economic integration.

The relations between the international cluster actors may be regulated by bilateral and multilateral international agreements as well as remain unregulated. As compared with other integration association forms, cluster is the less bureaucratic formation. In addition, the international cluster operates on the basis of corporate and international social values that create the climate of mutual confidence. It has a collective strategy that integrates all enterprises participating in the cluster.

The above stated characteristics of the international cluster are interrelated to a large extent and determine its synergistic effects:

1.The international competitiveness of countries participating in the cluster increases during the process of cooperation.

2.Communication linkages of the international cluster ensure high effectiveness of the international collaboration in science and technology, investment and innovation, that creates opportunities for technological modernization of the member-countries.

3.Prevalence of organizational, social and institutional proximity of the international cluster participants contributes to collaborative learning and formation of a dynamic innovation synergy (knowledge spillover effect) [4, р. 41].

4.The international cluster can objectively reduce the impact of some barriers to international commerce (through the mechanisms of transfer pricing and taxation, avoidance of barriers of customs and nontariff nature).

5.The international cluster promotes the development of transport logistics networks in order to optimize transportations between cluster participants.

6.Favorable conditions for innovation development are created within the framework of the international cluster. That leads to the diversification of national economy through the development of creative business sectors.

7.Nowadays the improvements of the cluster management, reduction of transactional, organizational and administrative costs take place. These are based on the benefits of the network integration and rational allocation of ownership.

Depending on the area covered by the international clusters, the clusters are divided into cross-border, transnational and global. The international clusters classification is shown in Fig. 1.


Figure 1. The international clusters classification.

Source: Suggested by the author.

Variety of approaches to interpretation of the term “international cluster” in the modern economic literature is united the idea of international clusters as the most extensive business structures which put enterprises of several countries together. These may be economically developed or developing сountries. Speaking of international clusters, some researchers may use the terms inter-state or inter-regional as such clusterscover territories (regions) of several countries and are based on the use of the competitive advantages of countries that are represented by the cluster participants.

When identifying type of international cluster an emphasis should be made on the importance of availability of common border between the countries, enterprises of which form a cross-border, transnational or global IC. Members that form a cross-border or a transnational IC are located in countries with common borders. That is, we can say that international cluster operates in particular cross-border or transnational area. Finally for global IC existence of such common borders between the member countries is not obligatory.

A cross-border clusteris an international cluster based on the use of the competitive advantages of the territories of neighboring countries, which participants of the cluster belong to. It operates in adjacent border areas of neighboring countries. You might as well say that the cross-border cluster determines cooperation of the adjacent border areas of neighboring countries that is the presence of a common border between cooperating border areas of neighboring countries is a determinant.

A transnational clusteris an international cluster that covers several areas of different countries and is based on the use of the competitive advantages of each of the territories of countries that are represented by the participants of the cluster. In other words, the transnational cluster determines cooperation within any administrative units which belong to different countries.

A global cluster which is also may be called virtual appears to be an interesting formation in a modern economic science.This cluster structure is not attached to a clearly defined management territory. Theoretically all countries of the world can participate in such cluster model, as the geographical distance between individual actors is compensated by modern electronic means of communication [7]. In this process a key role belongs to electronic commerce, which includes all financial and commercial transactions, carried out by means of the computer networks, and business processes associated with conducting of such transactions. Constituents of the electronic commerce are the electronic money (E-Cash), the electronic trade (E-Trade), the electronic banking (E-Banking), the electronic marketing (E-Marketing), the electronic insurance (E-Insurance), etc.E-diplomacy is entrusted with resolving of disputes and conflicts that arise on inter-country level between the members of virtual cluster in the process of joint activities.

Coming back to the clustering potential, global clusters generated by systemic transformations of the world economic space will have virtual character and post-material nature. Supporting opinion of A. Halchynskyi, virtualization of economic processes and emergence of post-material structures are not a negation of the real economy, but its complementation by qualitatively new, not yet fully researched development and growth resources [18, р. 220]. Virtualization expands the world economic space, making it more elastic. These processes are objective.

A wide range of economy models has been invented during the era of globalization. In view of the above said the theory of international virtual clusters must synthesize a wide range of modern methodologies (institutional, informational and innovation), virtual and network economy, as well as the economy of knowledge, system approach, social capital and others.

The author insists on the fact that it is the concept of international economic relations development on the basis of the formation of network economy that contributes to the formation of a new vision of efficiency mechanisms of cluster formations. Network economy erodes traditional clusters formed during the past decades leading to the formation of new virtual clusters which are not geographically localized. Independent business entities from around the world associate in these clusters to produce both traditional and high-tech goods and/or to render services.

However, the network way of participants’ interaction of the market relations corresponds to the new parameters of the communications environment (dynamics, uncertainty, total interdependence) and to the innovative type of growth based on the continuous updates.

Undoubtedly competitiveness of clusters depends on their ability to adapt to environmental changes. This is precisely why the virtual cluster has a flexible architecture and may be reorganized to the external requirements at minimum expense. The inclusion of a new participant changes the structure of cluster competencies without the need for its physical restructuring. At that the absence of dependence on the geographic location enables organizations to participate in several clusters simultaneously or to build in the virtual space their own cluster, which provides access to all the necessary knowledge and competencies.An advantage of the virtual cluster is expressed in the ability to build an effective structure of relations with external partners. However, constant physical and virtual cross-disciplinary and cross-cultural interaction take place in cluster, it results in emergence of significant innovations and implementation of promising international projects [19].

It should be noted that the first who raised the issue of reality of virtual cluster creation were two western scholars G. Passiante and G. Secundo. They argued that the concept of network economy suggests the possibility of a complete “dematerialization” of economic clusters through their assimilation with a “virtual innovation networks” that unite cluster-members through periodic electronic contacts[20].

AnotherpointofviewexpressedbyA. Romano, G. Passiante, V. Elia, a group of scientists that limit the concept of the virtual cluster as “an e-business community, made up of customers, suppliers, distributors and commerce providers sharing digital and knowledge networks for collaboration and competition”[21].

Another hypothesis as for possibilities of the virtual cluster expresses Australian researcher P. Braun, who focuses on creating competitive advantages for small and medium enterprises in regional aspect, using virtual clustering and movement of knowledge flows. Thereby she sees virtual cluster development potential in the association of small and medium enterprises in the sphere of tourism [22]. In its turn, M. Chiarvesio, E. Di Maria and S. Micelli agree with a thesis on the possibility of SME networks transforming into virtual structures [23].

Approachof Russian researcher D. Kostrykin is regarded to be of great interest.He considers “virtual innovation cluster” as a union of organizations connected in innovation process, the interaction of which in virtual space is based on technical and semantic compatibility [3].This is explained by a breakthrough in the development of information and communication technologies, provided the opportunity for more intensive interaction between distant market subjects. Free transfer of large amounts of information reduces the importance of geographical proximity as a factor in the success of new knowledge transfer.

Unliketheaforementionedconcepts, theauthor’sapproachismuchbroaderandconsidersvirtualclusterasanewqualitativeformofglobalclusterstructure.The emergence of virtual international business-structures once again confirms our assumptions about objective processes of economic clustering.

Thus, modern globalism has led to the emergence of virtual business structures that are able to attract to cooperative production networks all local and regional, natural and intellectual resources from every place of the globe in order to make joint profit.

Significantly, in a globalized world it is quite difficult to identify market players by nationality. In this case a main question lies in the inability to unambiguously determine the nationality of a brand, as subjects of international business (TNCs, holdings, concerns) concentrate capital of more than one country. Typically, it is a group of countries – from two to twenty.

It is obvious, that in the nearest future the international clusters may become competitors of transnational and multinational corporations, which have been considered the key players in the global arena hitherto. At the moment, international clusters actively cooperate with TNCs and MNCs, but in the short term they intend to absorb such structures. International business in the twenty-first century will have no nationality and will operate exclusively under the laws of the market and global competition.

Conclusion. In the course of the study it was found that post-industrial economy generates an emergence of the global network stage, resulting in activation of the internationalization of local clusters and formation of new network structures – international clusters operating in international economic cooperation of countries in order to create a competitive product based on the synergy of shared use of resources, exchange of knowledge and experience, technology transfer and distribution of information between the cluster participants, which ultimately contributes to strengthening the international competitiveness of member countries and their economic and social development.

Prerequisites for emergence of international clusters should be considered: expanding of interaction space between enterprises in traditional clusters beyond geographic boundaries; information integration and expansion of computer technology; complications of innovative processes that require access to a wider pool of knowledge. Thus the cluster approach is getting wider and allows attracting to information exchange a constantly increasing number of enterprises from around the world.

In its turn, the processes of globalization and related international competition actualize the study of the specific nature of international clusters in order to use their potential for improvement of the competitiveness of the countries that are participants of the integrated formations.

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