Global value chains (GVCs) have brought about revolutionary changes in international
trade, industrialization, and economic development. The GVC story is still rapidly
unfolding, as vividly demonstrated by the supply chain crisis, particularly for
semiconductors and other components, that broke out during the COVID-19 pandemic,
causing further anxiety. But beyond what is hoped will be a short-term tremor, a radical
shift in these chains is underway as more of them move beyond traditional production
processes to encompass services and other intangible assets. In recognition of this,
Beyond Production is the theme of the Global Value Chain Development Report 2021,
the third report in this biennial series. The most significant feature of this “second
unbundling” associated with the proliferation of GVCs in the world economy is the
separation between production and nonproduction tasks. So, looking at GVCs not just
in terms of manufacturing products but also from the perspective of their beyond production
components, such as intangible assets, digital platforms, and intellectual
property, can deepen our understanding of the critical role of GVCs in the global economy.

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