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Data access as a big competitive advantage: evidence from China's car-hailing platforms

Lei Huang (Institute of Science, Technology and Society, Chinese Academy of Science and Technology for Development, Beijing, China) (College of Economic and Social Development, Nankai University, Tianjin, China)
Yandong Zhao (Center for Studies of Sociological Theory and Methods, Renmin University of China, Beijing, China) (Institute of Science, Technology and Society, Chinese Academy of Science and Technology for Development, Beijing, China)
Guangxi He (Institute of Science, Technology and Society, Chinese Academy of Science and Technology for Development, Beijing, China)
Yangxu Lu (Institute of Science, Technology and Society, Chinese Academy of Science and Technology for Development, Beijing, China)
Juanjuan Zhang (Institute of Science, Technology and Society, Chinese Academy of Science and Technology for Development, Beijing, China)
Peiyi Wu (School of Public Policy and Management, Tsinghua University, Beijing, China) (Department of Public Policy, City University of Hong Kong, Kowloon Tong, Hong Kong)

Data Technologies and Applications

ISSN: 2514-9288

Article publication date: 17 November 2020

Issue publication date: 12 April 2021

252

Abstract

Purpose

The online platform is one of the essential components of the platform economy that is constructed by a large scale of the personal data resource. However, accurate empirical test of the competition structure of the data-driven online platform is still less. This research is trying to reveal market allocation structure of the personal data resource of China's car-hailing platforms competition by the empirical data analysis.

Design/methodology/approach

This research is applying the social network analysis by R packages, which include k-core decomposition and multilevel community detection from the data connectedness via the decompilation and the examination of the application programming interface of terminal applications.

Findings

This research has found that the car-hailing platforms, which establish more constant personal data connectedness and connectivity with social media platforms, are taking the competitive market advantage within the sample network. Data access discrimination is a complementary method of market power in China's car-hailing industry.

Research limitations/implications

This research offers a new perspective on the analysis of the multi-sided market from the personal data resource allocation mechanism of the car-hailing platform. However, the measurement of the data connectedness requires more empirical industry data.

Practical implications

This research reveals the competition structure that relies on personal data resource allocation mechanism. It offers empirical evidence for governance, which is considered as the critical issue of big data research, by reviewing the nature of the data network.

Social implications

It also reveals the data convergence process of the social system and the technological system.

Originality/value

This research offers a new research method for the real-time regulation of the car-hailing platform.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors thank professor Qianjin Wang and professor Cong Cao for their comments and suggestions.This paper forms part of a special section “Big Data for Social Good and Social Sciences”, guest edited by Miltiadis D. Lytras, Anna Visvizi, Peiquan Jin and Naif Aljohani.

Citation

Huang, L., Zhao, Y., He, G., Lu, Y., Zhang, J. and Wu, P. (2021), "Data access as a big competitive advantage: evidence from China's car-hailing platforms", Data Technologies and Applications, Vol. 55 No. 2, pp. 192-215. https://doi.org/10.1108/DTA-01-2019-0013

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

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