E-Commerce in China: Culture and Challenges

  • Jeffrey Hsu


The development of e-commerce in China has been of interest to many throughout both the scholarly and business communities. Certainly, a nation which claims one of the largest populations of Internet users, together with a dominant role in the global economy, would be expected to be a major player in e-commerce. However, because of the impacts of various variables, constraints, as well as the makeup of the population and its Internet users, e-commerce in China has evolved differently, and has unique characteristics compared with e-commerce from other nations and markets. An analysis of the current state of e-commerce in China, followed by an analysis of the factors which impact upon China’s e-commerce, provide insight into its development of electronic business. The role of culture, which is another key factor, is also discussed. From here, a look to future trends and directions is provided.


Supply Chain Credit Card Internet User Chinese Culture Uncertainty Avoidance 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Andersen, K. et al, (2004). B2B e-Commerce—Agricultural Export from China, Proceedings of ICE’04 Conference, 534-540.Google Scholar
  2. Appadurai, A., in King, A.D. (ed.) (1991). Culture Globalisation and the World-System, Macmillan Press Ltd, SUNY-Binghampton, 1991Google Scholar
  3. Bouchet, D. (1995). Marketing and the Redefinition of Ethnicity. In Costa, J., & Balmossy, G. (ed.) Marketing in a Multicultural World, London: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  4. Briley, D., Morris, M, and Simonson, I. (2000). “Reasons as carriers of culture: dynamic versus dispositional models of cultural influence on decision making,” Journal of Consumer Research, 27, 2, 157-178.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Brunner, J.A., Chan, C. S. and Zhou, N. (1989). “The role of guanxi in negotiation in the Pacific Basin,” Journal of Global Marketing, 3(2), 58-72, 1989Google Scholar
  6. CNNIC (2004, 2003, 2001, 2000). “Survey of Chinese Internet Users, Semi-Annual China Internet Report. Google Scholar
  7. Chang, T., and Li, P. (2003). How to Succceed in e-Business by Taking the Haier Road, Competitiveness Review, 13, 2, 34-45.Google Scholar
  8. Davidson, R., Vogel, D., and Harris, R. (2005). The e-transformation of Western China, Communications of the ACM , 48, 4, 62-67.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Dou, W., Yoo, B., and Ma, L. (2003) Computer Patronage of ethnic Portals, International Marketing Review, 20, 6, 661-677.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. eBusiness Forum (2001). Doing e-Business in China,
  11. ECT News Network (2008). China Dismantles 44,000 Sites in Anti Porn Offensive, 1/13/08Google Scholar
  12. ECT News Network (2008). China Moves to Limit Online Video Posting, 1/3/08.Google Scholar
  13. Efendioglu, A., and Yip, V. (2004). Chinese culture and e-Commerce, 16, 45-62.Google Scholar
  14. Fannin, R. (2003). The eBay of China, Chief Executive, Aug/Sep. 2003, 31-32.Google Scholar
  15. Goh, M. and Ling, C. (2002). Logistics Development in China, International Journal of Physical Distribution and Logistics Management, 33, 10, 886-917.Google Scholar
  16. Gupta, A.F. (2001). Internet and the English Language. Retrieved on July 14, 2002, from the World Wide Web: poco.paper6.html.
  17. Hofstede, G. (2001). Culture’s Consequences: Comparing Values, Behaviors, Institutions, and Organizations Across Nations, 2/E, Beverly Hills CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  18. Hofstede, G. (1997). Cultures and Organizations: Software of the Mind. New York: , Mc Graw-Hill. .Google Scholar
  19. Hu, Q., Wu, X., and Wang, C. (2004). Lessons for government’s role in contracting,” Info Journal, 6, 5, 298-307.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Iyer, L., and Taube, L. (2002). Global e-commerce: rationale, digital divide, and strategies to bridge the divide,” Journal of Global Information Technology Management, 5, 1, 43-69.Google Scholar
  21. Jesdanun, A. (2008). China Catching Up to US in Number of Web Surfers, Associated Press/ECT News Network, 1/21/08.Google Scholar
  22. Jiang, B. and Prater, E. (2002). Distribution and logistics development in China, International Journal of Physical Distribution and Logistics Management, 32, 9, 783-798.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. King, A.D. (1991)(ed.) Culture Globalisation and the World-System, Macmillan Press Ltd, SUNY-Binghampton, 1991Google Scholar
  24. Lai, J. (2001) Marketing Web Sites in China, Minor Thesis, RMIT, 2001. Google Scholar
  25. Lee, S.M. (1986) Spectrum of Chinese Culture, Pelanduk Publications (M), Selangor Darul Ehsau.Google Scholar
  26. Li, C.H., (1998) China: The Consumer Revolution, New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  27. Li, Z. and Wang, S. (2005). The Foundation of e-Commerce—Social reputation Systems- A Comparison between America and China, Proceedings of ICEC’05, X’ian China, August15-17, 230-232.Google Scholar
  28. Li , P. and Chang, (2004), A Holistic Framework of E-Business Strategy, Journal of Global Information Management, 12, 2, Apr-Jun, 44-62.MathSciNetCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Lin, Z. and Li, J. (2005). The Online Auction Market in China, Proceedings of ICEC’05, X’ian China, August15-17, 123-129.Google Scholar
  30. Li , L. and Buhalis, D. (2006). E-commerce in China: the case of travel, International Journal of Information Management, 26, 153-166.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Ortolani, A. (2005). Chinese begin Paying by Cellphone, Wall Street Journal, Feb 2, p. 1Google Scholar
  32. Papadopoulou, P, Andreeou, A., Kanellis, P., and Martakos, D. (2001). Trust and relationship building in electronic commerce, Internet Research, 11, 4, 322-332.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. People’s Daily (2003). The Passport for Golden Bowls. Retrieved July 16, 2003 from (in Chinese)
  34. Penazola, L.N. (1998). Immigrant Consumer Acculturation, in Srull, (ed.) Advances in Consumer Research, Provo, UT: Assn. For Consumer Research.Google Scholar
  35. Powell, B. (2002). China e-commerce. Fortune Magazine, March 4.Google Scholar
  36. Quaddus, M., Xu, J., and Hoque, Z. Factors of Adoption of Online Auction, Proceedings of ICEC’05, X’ian China, August15-17, 93-100.Google Scholar
  37. Quan, J., Hu, Q., and Wang, X. (2005). IT is Not for Everyone in China, Communications of the ACM, 48, 4, 69-72.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Scarborough, J. (1998). Comparing Chinese and Western Culture Roots, “ Business Horizons, Nov. 1998.Google Scholar
  39. Shimp. T. and Sharma, S. (1987). Consumer ethnocentrism: construction and validation of the CETSCALE, Journal of Marketing Research, 24, August, 280-289.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. SINA Survey (2001). SINA Survey in Major Cities of China.Google Scholar
  41. Stylianou, A. Robbins, S., and Jackson, P. (2003). Perceptions and Attitudes About eCommerce Development in China, Journal of Global Information Management, April- June, 11(2), 31-47.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Su, Q. and Adams, C. (2005). Will B2C E-commerce developed in one culture be suitable for another culture, Proceedings of ICEC’05, X’ian China, August15-17, 236-243.Google Scholar
  43. Tan, Z. and Wu, O. (2002). Globalization and e-commerce: factors affecting e-commerce diffusion in China, Communications of the AIS, 10, 4-32.Google Scholar
  44. Trappey, C, and Trappel, A. (2001). Electronic commerce in greater China. Industrial Management and Data Systems, 101, 5/6, 201-209.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Turban, et al., (2006). Electronic Commerce: A Managerial Perspective 2006 (4th Edition), Upper Saddle River: Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar
  46. UNCTAD (2002). E-commerce and development report,\_en.pdf,
  47. Wilson, E. and Segal, A. (2005). Trends in China’s Transition Toward a Knowledge Economy, Asian Survey, 45, 6, 886-906.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Wong, X., Yen, D., and Fang, X. (2004). E-Commerce Development in China and its Implication for Business. Asian Pacific Journal of Marketing and Logistics, 16, 3, 68-83.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Woodfield, A. (1995). The Conservation of Endangered Languages, CTLL Seminar of University of Bristol.Google Scholar
  50. World Bank (2002). World Development Indicators, Washington DC: World Bank, 2002.Google Scholar
  51. Xing, F. (1995). The Chinese Cultural System, SAM Advanced Management Journal, 60, 1, 1995, p. 14-20.Google Scholar
  52. Xu, B., Jiang, L., and Ma, F. (2005). On the new B2B E-Business Enabling Platform, Proceedings of ICEC’05, X’ian China, August15-17,681-684.Google Scholar
  53. Yang, C.F. (1989). A conception of Chinese consumer behavior. In Hong Kong Marketing Management at the Crossroads. Hong Kong: Commercial Press, 317-342.Google Scholar
  54. Yau, O.H. (1988). Chinese culture values: their dimensions and marketing implications, Journal of Marketing, 22, 1988, pp. 44-57.Google Scholar
  55. Zhang, X., Li, Q. and Lin, Z. (2005). E-Commerce education in China, Journal of Electronic Commerce in Organizations, 3, 3, 1-17.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jeffrey Hsu
    • 1
  1. 1.Information Systems, Silberman College of BusinessFairleigh Dickinson UniversityUSA

Personalised recommendations