Reimagining Indonesian technology transfer policies amid the shifting global technology flows

Crawford School of Public Policy

Event details


Date & time

Thursday 23 May 2024


Seminar room 8 JG Crawford building and Online Zoom


Andree Surianta


Grant Walton
+ 61 415 754 943

Multinational enterprises continue to reshape their global value chains (GVCs) to respond to the US–China trade-turned-technology war and the COVID-19 pandemic. This presents new opportunities for developing countries beyond China to engage these diversifying GVCs and tap into the technologies flowing through them. However, Indonesia seems ill-prepared to capitalise on this trend.

As a technology importer, Indonesia has long tried to enforce technology transfer from foreign businesses through localisation mandates. This doctoral thesis examines these policies to unveil their efficacy in building indigenous technological capacity. This research uses a mixed methods approach to assess the performance of these policies so far, in anticipation of the new opportunities brought about by the GVC restructuring. Stakeholder interviews on the uniquely Indonesian local language policies reveal a disconnect in the technology transfer perspectives of Indonesian stakeholders. The interview inspired a quantitative assessment of the benefit of building absorptive capacity to engage foreign investors and their technology. An in-depth industrial case study and comparative analysis also conclude that the key to successful technology transfer lies not in enforcement but in absorptive capacity.

These failures seem to have inspired new efforts to build absorptive capacity, but their effectiveness may be limited by the same inward focus. Drawing upon these insights, the thesis proposes two outward technology transfer strategies that leverage Indonesia’s state-owned enterprises and large population to pursue technologies at their source. This strategy would require the Indonesian policymakers to reverse its technology transfer and upskilling paradigm. With the right skills, Indonesians can access cutting-edge innovations directly, circumventing the limitations imposed by the GVCs as technology intermediaries.

This research contributes to both academic discourse and policy formulation by offering actionable insights for redefining technology transfer frameworks in developing countries. By embracing a proactive and outward-oriented stance, policymakers can accelerate the building of domestic technological capacity that will eventually help countries move up the value chain and sustain their economic progress.


Andree Surianta is a PhD Candidate in the Policy and Governance Program at the Crawford School of Public Policy, Australian National University and an Associate Researcher with the Center for Indonesian Policy Studies. His current research focuses on examining technology transfer policies in Indonesia amid the changing dynamics in global technology flows. In particular, he is tracing Indonesia’s engagement with the global value chains as technology intermediaries during the ongoing US–China technology war and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Andree has published with Asia and the Pacific Policy Studies journal, ISEAS Publishing, East Asia Forum, The Interpreter, and the Conversation Indonesia. He has also been interviewed for radio, podcast and TV programs by SBS Radio Indonesia, SuarAkademia, and the IDX Channel on the Job Creation Omnibus Law, the Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement, pharmaceutical investment, and COVID-19 vaccination.


Professor Chunlai Chen (Primary Supervisor and Chair) (email:; Dr Arianto Patunru (email:; Associate Profesor Andrew Kennedy (email: andy.kennedy

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