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Book part
Publication date: 10 December 2018

Xinyi Wu and Gary Gereffi

In the digital economy, what are the strategies of multinationals from developed countries and emerging markets? How do regulations in the home country affect their…

Abstract

In the digital economy, what are the strategies of multinationals from developed countries and emerging markets? How do regulations in the home country affect their growth? Recent digital multinationals in diverse national and institutional contexts raise questions that require new approaches in international business (IB) studies. This chapter examines two leading firms in the global e-commerce industry: Amazon and Alibaba. We compare their digital capabilities and physical asset-building strategies over the past two decades and we connect the Internet governance environment in the United States and China with their business models and internationalization patterns. We argue that despite the platform and global nature of Amazon’s and Alibaba’s activities, the recent moves of governments across the world to regulate Internet governance poses an important challenge for digital multinationals. This research features a comparative analysis of two prominent digital multinationals and identifies a promising area for future IB strategy studies.

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International Business in the Information and Digital Age
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78756-326-1

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Expert briefing
Publication date: 23 March 2015

Alibaba's involvement in trade in counterfeit goods, and the authorities' response.

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DOI: 10.1108/OXAN-DB198468

ISSN: 2633-304X

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Geographic
Topical
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Article
Publication date: 11 November 2019

Ellie Falcone, John Kent and Brian Fugate

Supply chain management literature recognizes that interorganizational networks provide resources that convey critical benefits, such as capital, competitive advantage and…

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2112

Abstract

Purpose

Supply chain management literature recognizes that interorganizational networks provide resources that convey critical benefits, such as capital, competitive advantage and efficient strategy implementation. The purpose of this paper is to leverage network theory and identify technological innovations as the antecedents for organizations to achieve stronger interorganizational networks. Specifically, this paper investigates how supply chain technologies of its logistics affiliate, Cainiao Network (CN), affect Alibaba Group’s three fundamental network mechanisms reachability, richness and receptivity and how interorganizational networks subsequently drive Alibaba Group’s performance.

Design/methodology/approach

A case study approach was chosen as a methodology to develop an in-depth understanding of the proposed innovations-network-performance framework.

Findings

Results indicate that innovative technologies positively lead to network reachability, richness and receptivity. Stronger interorganizational networks directly lead to higher performance. In addition, CN is identified as a unique innovative business model.

Originality/value

The key contribution of this research is that it investigates Alibaba Group’s performance from a network and innovation perspective. It identifies technological innovations as a key driver for stronger interorganizational networks. Furthermore, three network mechanisms are introduced and investigated as the antecedents of organizational performance. This research also provides a comprehensive description of Alibaba Group and CN.

Details

International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, vol. 50 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0960-0035

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Article
Publication date: 10 October 2008

Robert M. Davison and Carol Xiaojuan Ou

In China, online intermediaries have become increasingly influential in the last few years, notably in the business‐to‐business (B2B) domain. However, little research has…

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2795

Abstract

Purpose

In China, online intermediaries have become increasingly influential in the last few years, notably in the business‐to‐business (B2B) domain. However, little research has considered the impact of these intermediaries on either the tacit knowledge or the guanxi that are so central to Chinese business processes. In this paper, authors investigate this impact, as well as the consequent shifts that are taking place on B2B platforms, focusing on the case of Alibaba, China's largest online business intermediary.

Design/methodology/approach

An exploratory case‐study approach is employed in this paper. The authors have comprehensive investigated Alibaba's trading platforms and associated technologies. They have also engaged 15 Alibaba users (buyers and sellers) from seven different countries/territories in semi‐structured interviews and use the interview data to supplement the own findings.

Findings

Alibaba is effectively functioning as a substitute for traditional, offline social networks. In the process, it is leveraging and disseminating explicit knowledge critical to all aspects of the purchasing/procurement process, as well as changing the role of guanxi throughout the business purchasing/procurement process. Alibaba is thus engineering radical changes in the way business can be conducted in China.

Research limitations/implications

Experienced researchers of Chinese management have traditionally been wary of ignoring cultural norms, which, in this case, would highlight the importance of both guanxi and tacit knowledge. The shift from tacit to explicit knowledge representation, coupled with a modified role for guanxi, is thus rather unexpected and should lead researchers to query previous assumptions, as well as test new ones, specifically in the area of online B2B transactions, but potentially in other domains where online communications are involved.

Practical implications

Chinese business people are all too aware of the importance of tacit knowledge and guanxi. The potential for this tacit knowledge to be represented explicitly online, coupled with the shifting role that guanxi may play, should be of great interest to those who wish to explore the online marketspace. It may be particularly attractive to newcomers (notably non‐Chinese) to the Chinese market since their own tacit knowledge and guanxi may be less well developed and they may be in a better position to leverage the online platforms.

Originality/value

There is little prior work on Chinese B2B e‐commerce from a guanxi‐based or knowledge management (KM) perspective that builds on the experiences of online buyers and sellers. They chart this area and seek to integrate the two disparate streams of research on guanxi and KM in the context of B2B e‐commerce.

Details

Chinese Management Studies, vol. 2 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1750-614X

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Book part
Publication date: 10 December 2018

Kai Jia, Martin Kenney and John Zysman

The recent emergence of Chinese digital platform firms, whose size rivals that of the US platform giants, has attracted much popular interest. Given the size and…

Abstract

The recent emergence of Chinese digital platform firms, whose size rivals that of the US platform giants, has attracted much popular interest. Given the size and increasing technical sophistication of these firms, there has been increasing interest in whether they have developed sufficient capacities and resources to become global-class competitors for the reigning US platform giants. The authors assembled a database of all overseas operations of the Chinese platform firms. Nine of them have foreign operations, with Tencent and Alibaba being the most important offshore investors. The authors describe the globalization patterns of these firms and analyze the strengths and obstacles to their globalization. Their globalization has proceeded on a number of vectors: first, these firms, with a few exceptions, when they have global strategies, have largely invested in firms with useful technology or content. One common strategy has been to follow Chinese customers abroad. Second, Chinese firms have made equity investments in a number of foreign Internet firms. And yet, in nearly all foreign markets, Chinese websites and apps still trail the US firms in market share and salience. Finally, Chinese investments are concentrated in proximate countries. Chinese platform firms, while having some state-of-the-art technologies, have a far smaller foreign presence than their US competitors do. Finally, the authors consider the implications of their research for discussions of whether emerging nation multinational firms require new theories for explaining their globalization.

Details

International Business in the Information and Digital Age
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78756-326-1

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Article
Publication date: 7 September 2020

Carry Mak, Robin Stanley Snell and Jacky Hong

The purpose of this paper is to investigate Peter Senge’s ideas from the perspective of the spiritual ideal of harmony/He (和).

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate Peter Senge’s ideas from the perspective of the spiritual ideal of harmony/He (和).

Design/methodology/approach

Following a literature review of the conceptualization of Senge’s fifth discipline and harmony, an appreciative case study of Alibaba is adopted to demonstrate the role of harmony in guiding the transformative application of the five disciplines of the learning organization.

Findings

In developing as a learning organization, Alibaba is portrayed as having embraced three levels of harmony: person-within-oneself, person-to-others and person-to-nature harmony. The authors identify three equivalencies between Senge’s disciplines and the traditional Chinese ideal of harmony. First, personal mastery and metal models correspond to developing person-within-oneself harmony. Second, team learning and shared vision entail developing person-to-others harmony. Third, systems thinking aligns with person-to-nature harmony.

Practical implications

The case study demonstrates various approaches that can be used to foster the development of person-within-oneself, person-to-others and person-to-nature harmony within an aspiring learning organization.

Originality/value

This paper shows how core values of Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism, distilled into the Chinese ideal of harmony, can encourage the cultivation of learning organizations.

Details

The Learning Organization, vol. 27 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-6474

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Article
Publication date: 8 March 2019

Brian Leavy

Alibaba strategist Ming Zeng explains how the company operates its “smart business” in the era of business ecosystems

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1917

Abstract

Purpose

Alibaba strategist Ming Zeng explains how the company operates its “smart business” in the era of business ecosystems

Design/methodology/approach

Alibaba today presents a vivid picture of the new business world emerging, one that operates using the data generated by the network of participants, as processed by machine learning, to automatically respond to customer behavior and preferences in real time.

Findings

At Alibaba link after link in the value chain is being modularized and reconfigured into technologically optimized networks and much of business decision-making is powered by algorithms.

Practical implications

Creativity becomes the crucial productive factor and thus the purpose of an organization is to enable, rather than manage creative people.

Originality/value

<abstract_text>In the emerging world of “smart business,” entrepreneurs and strategists must learn to assess the entire network as a whole when deciding how to position their business and create value. Then the strategy making process is one of generating, coordinating and modulating experimentation

Details

Strategy & Leadership, vol. 47 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1087-8572

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Case study
Publication date: 24 September 2018

Allan KK Chan, Caleb Huanyong Chen and Long Zhao

area E-Business; Corporate Strategy; Strategic Management; Operation Management.

Abstract

Subject

area E-Business; Corporate Strategy; Strategic Management; Operation Management.

Study

level/applicability Senior undergraduate; MBA; EMBA.

Case

overview After development for 10 years, JD was now China’s second largest business-to-customer (B2C) e-retailer and the largest in self-operated sector. It was September 2015 when Liu Qiangdong was deciding whether to persist with JD’s self-operated model and the heavy investment in the self-built logistics system. JD’s business model had been functioning well. However, as JD grew bigger and bigger, it became too expensive to expand its logistics system. JD had not made a profit since it raised funds from investors. Liu had to come up with a good proposal before the next monthly meeting to convince them that JD would finally overtake its biggest rival, Alibaba which ran on a different business model. In addition, JD was exploiting the rural and the global markets, as well as a new business in internet finance. Facing challenges and dilemmas, should JD persist with its model? How could Liu align short-term profitability with long-run development? How could JD overcome attacks from Alibaba and other competitors?

Expected

learning outcomes This case is appropriate for courses in e-business and strategy, particularly those with a strong focus on doing e-business in emerging markets (e.g. China). After studying the case, students should be able to: understand the e-commerce market in China; understand business models and key strategies of e-retailers; identify and analyse the pros and cons of the self-operated business model and self-built logistics system in e-commerce; learn how to evaluate performance, strategies and business models of e-commerce companies; and extract key trends in the market and compare different strategies.

Supplementary

materials Teaching notes are available for educators only. Please contact your library to gain login details or email support@emeraldinsight.com to request teaching notes.

Subject code:

CSS 11: Strategy.

Details

Emerald Emerging Markets Case Studies, vol. 8 no. 3
Type: Case Study
ISSN: 2045-0621

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Article
Publication date: 19 October 2012

Chengqi (Chen) Guo and Xiaorui Hu

The purpose of this paper is to report the findings and lessons learned from a case study that is based on Alibaba's business‐to‐business (B2B) fraud in China. The…

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1318

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to report the findings and lessons learned from a case study that is based on Alibaba's business‐to‐business (B2B) fraud in China. The influence of such incidents and post‐hoc solutions are research worthy in today's booming digital business world.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper uses a case study approach and practice‐driven method that rely on user behaviors, corporate policies, and financial data. The taxonomic framework of online fraud and corresponding countermeasures arise from digital forensic reports, policy reviews, data analysis, and a literature review.

Findings

The key findings are indigenous to the Chinese B2B landscape, yet they help international stakeholders understand and address fraudulent issues. The paper finds beside the traditional customer‐based account signature, internal employees must be assigned their own signature systems to track malicious activities. Meanwhile, digital signature systems can be enhanced by reducing the record inter‐arrival time. Policy revisions are proposed to (e.g. offshore companies) lead to the decrease in the number of fraudulent incidents.

Originality/value

The paper extends existing understanding of online fraud by studying a Chinese case. The findings are timely and based on real world experience. Actual practices are discussed and evaluated. A range of fraudulent activities is reviewed in a comprehensive framework. The findings are important due to the public exposure and wide implications of such an incident. Also, this study reveals that fraud protection is an on‐going effort requiring a triangulation of technical artifacts, policy management, and operations management.

Details

International Journal of Accounting & Information Management, vol. 20 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1834-7649

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Book part
Publication date: 15 April 2019

Renata Thiebaut

Data has become one of the most significant instruments in e-commerce innovation. Benefits to the entire society can be summarized as following: from the government’s…

Abstract

Data has become one of the most significant instruments in e-commerce innovation. Benefits to the entire society can be summarized as following: from the government’s perspective - to assess the impact of e-commerce to the economy; for merchants - to understand consumers’ needs; and for consumers - to be offered with the right product he/she is looking for. The digital revolution in the past five years has shown the need to offer more differentiated services than the physical stores, when consumers are not able to try and touch products. It is for this reason that e-commerce has continuously developed and transformed Research Online, Purchase Offline into a true experience. Considering the future of e-commerce is to enhance economic development and growth, this research will discuss the disruption of Research and Development through big data. The core objective of this research is to propose a predictive model to deeply understand consumer behavior by analyzing new regulations and transaction records.

Details

Entrepreneurship and Development in the 21st Century
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78973-233-7

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