Evolution of the high-tech industry and the ICT sector in Finland


  • Krzysztof Stachowiak Uniwersytet im. Adama Mickiewicza w Poznaniu, Instytut Geografii Ekonomicznej i Gospodarki Przestrzenne




ICT, przemysł wysokich technologii


The paper presents in a broad outline the main characteristics of the evolution of the Finnish high--tech industry and ICT sector within the context of general changes in industry and the national economy. In the last decades of the 20th century Finland dynamically developed a knowledge-based economy and became one of the leaders of the information society. A spectacular manifestation of this is the position of the country in global competitiveness rankings, where Finland has occupied a top position for several years, sometimes even being ahead of the United States. The so-called ‘Finnish model of information society’ is characterised, among others, by a significant growth in knowledge-intensive industries and a complex system of research and development support. However, all those changes were dependent on the previous development path of the country. The structure of Finnish industry was rather one-sided until the 1980s, when knowledge- and expertise-intensive production started to catch up with the level of manufacturing dominated by raw materials, capital and energy. For a long time, Finland specialised in the forest industry and in the processing of metals. A new sector that has developed during the past decades is electronics and, especially, the manufacturing of communication devices. Furthermore, the economy has changed more dramatically in Finland than in any other developed country over the same period of time. Industries have become technology-intensive and production is strongly characterised by specialisation. Finland has become the most specialised country in information and communication technology in the world, and this specialisation trend is continuing. The forest industry and other traditional industries rely more and more on the new technologies and state-of-the-art knowledge. In Finland, industrialisation started later than in other countries, but it was very rapid. Industrial production and exports grew faster than the rest of the economy in the 1990s, and the structure of exports diversified. Unlike other developed countries, Finland “re-industrialised” in the 1990s. The contribution of industry to the total volume of production and employment has been higher in Finland than in other advanced economies in the past couple of years.


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How to Cite

Stachowiak, K. (2009). Evolution of the high-tech industry and the ICT sector in Finland. Studies of the Industrial Geography Commission of the Polish Geographical Society, 13, 122–132. https://doi.org/10.24917/20801653.13.10