Network externality vs. multi-layer platform link effect: “FeliCa” based electric money platform ecosystems analysis in Japan
In 1996, Sony succeeded in the mass production of the “FeliCa,” one of the technological standards of an IC (Integrated Circuit) card. Based on the FeliCa, many applications have been introduced, for example, Electric Ticket, Electric Money and Mobile Wallet. This paper focused on the FeliCa based Electric Money platform ecosystems and analyzed the mechanisms of the dynamic evolution of the platform ecosystem. Regarding to the mechanism of the platform ecosystem evolution, previous researches have been emphasized the network externality. The strategy of the rapid install-base expansion is generally observed in the platform leader’s behavior. Actually, the Bitwallet that is the first Electric Money provider in Japan invested huge resources to expand the member stores from the early stage. However, other providers those have other platform like JR east (railway), PASMO (railway and bus), Seven & I (retail) and AEON (retail) started their own Electric Money and took the first position of the number of the payment. They have not tried to expand the installed base but link to their existing platforms with physical positioning and virtual service program. Using the historical case analysis, the author found the network externality is weaker than the multi-layer platform link effect at the emerging stage of the platform ecosystem.
KeywordsInnovation Ecosystems Digital Platforms Electronic Money Cashless Economy Japan
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