This study seeks to develop a general framework for evaluating communication platforms in e‐commerce, and then apply the framework to investigate what factors have impeded m‐commerce from taking off in the specific context of China.
The paper proposes a three‐dimension framework for evaluating a communication platform in e‐commerce, which features reach, richness, and costs of communications as its salient characteristics. Grounded on the framework, a comparative analysis is conducted using data from a survey sponsored by the Ministry of Commerce of China. The analysis, from the user's perspective, compares facilitators and inhibitors for using communication platforms in two different contexts, the mobile communication platform in m‐commerce vs the fixed communication platform in the “classical” e‐commerce.
The study finds that, compared with e‐commerce over the fixed communication platform, the m‐commerce in China enjoys relatively great communication reach but suffers from relatively low communication richness. In the mean time, costs of communications do not seem to be a major barrier for m‐commerce growth.
The three‐dimension framework can serve as an underlying model not only to evaluate currently available communication platforms for e‐commerce, but also to address economic calculus of benefits and costs of emerging communication platforms.
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