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Exploration of the initiation and process of business model innovation of successful Chinese ICT enterprises

Peng Liu (International Business School, Beijing Foreign Studies University, Beijing, China)
Robin Bell (Worcester Business School, University of Worcester, Worcester, UK and International Business School, Beijing Foreign Studies University, Beijing, China)

Journal of Entrepreneurship in Emerging Economies

ISSN: 2053-4604

Article publication date: 12 June 2019

Issue publication date: 15 October 2019

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to investigate four successful Chinese ICT enterprises to determine what initiated their business-model innovations and the process they went through by exploring how they adapted and innovatively renewed four key elements of their business models.

Design/methodology/approach

This investigative and exploratory research adopted a multiple-case-study design exploring four purposively selected successful Chinese ICT enterprises which had all engaged in significant business model innovation since their inception. Data for the case studies were collected through in-depth interviews with the founders and analyses of the companies’ history to gain a detailed account of the evolution of the firms’ business models since their formation.

Findings

The research identified three key initiating factors to business model innovation in the firms studied, namely, constant and rapid product iteration, along with an emergent strategy, leading to business model innovations to take full advantage of the firms’ competitive advantages; a reaction to threats and environmental changes; and an opportunistic behaviour to extend the business model to new markets. The research found that networks were a key factor in the process, including the customer base, financial investors and network collaborators.

Research limitations/implications

This research is limited to four successful Chinese ICT firms; this in-depth approach means the information may have only limited transferability but provides depth on a burgeoning Chinese sector.

Originality/value

This research addresses the call for more research and a greater understanding of what initiates business model innovation and the process firms go through to develop the key elements of their business models by looking at a purposively selected sample of successful Chinese enterprises in a fast-moving and technologically driven market.

Keywords

Citation

Liu, P. and Bell, R. (2019), "Exploration of the initiation and process of business model innovation of successful Chinese ICT enterprises", Journal of Entrepreneurship in Emerging Economies, Vol. 11 No. 4, pp. 515-536. https://doi.org/10.1108/JEEE-09-2018-0094

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited