Title: Culture, trust and business ecosystems: the mediating role of online chat in China

Authors: Ke Rong; Davide Secchi; Yongyi Shou

Addresses: Institute of Economics, School of Social Sciences, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084, China; Business School, University of Exeter, Exeter EX4 4PU, UK ' COMAC Research Cluster, Center for Human Interactivity (CHI), Department of Language and Communication, University of Southern Denmark, Sdr. Stationvej 28, Slagelse 4200, Denmark ' School of Management, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou 310058, China

Abstract: This paper analyses the case of Taobao (the B2C and C2C platform of Alibaba Group), the 'focal firm' in a large online shopping ecosystem in China. The study attempts to reframe the business ecosystem considering the impact of cultural dimensions. Findings show that in a society with strong culture of guanxi and collectivism, a computer-mediated online communication tool works as a surrogate for real-life experience of socially binding behaviours to organise ecosystem stakeholders such as online marketplace owners, customers and sellers. The perception of collectivism affects the effectiveness of the communication tool, which, in turn, facilitates trust building between sellers and buyers. The result is unique and tied to a society dominated by guanxi and collectivism, and shows how it addresses socio-cultural needs through a computer-mediated communication technology.

Keywords: business ecosystem; collectivism; communication; complementor; culture; guanxi; trust.

DOI: 10.1504/IJMC.2018.091382

International Journal of Mobile Communications, 2018 Vol.16 No.3, pp.247 - 265

Available online: 27 Sep 2017 *

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