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E-Commerce Development in China Essay Sample

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  • Word count: 3,272
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  • Category: china

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Introduction of TOPIC

E-commerce is also called “the emerging digital economy” and “the digital economy.”  The term e-commerce if too broad in a way that it has its own disadvantages, some researchers consider that a business can be called e-commerce as the whole chain of commerce involves some electronic formats. Based on this definition, any commercial practices can be referred to as e-commerce if the transaction has the following structures such as the Electronic Data Interchange (EDI), electronic cashier, electronic ordering system or even telephone, telex and telegram.

For example, the transaction between the management and employees in a company can be considered as e-commerce. While according to the Chinese scholars call the existing supermarket and retail industry as China e-commerce since they utilize electronic cashiers. At the same time, the Chinese government acknowledges the online activities also to be e-commerce. In fact, these notion and meaning are not appropriate. For instance, Tesco in United Kingdom has been in the industry for many years, they had used electronic cash system, yet no one in the U.K. considered them as an e-commerce firm.

E-commerce in China

The international characteristics of the Internet is its being distributed as to its subscribers with a very diverse nature because of its contents that give the government officials to think the Internet activities are uncontrollable to any single nation (Hill, 2004). China’s President Jiang Zemin is worried about the hazards and disadvantages of the widespread Internet use in his country, he believes that it is so unhealthy. He is making an appeal to the global community to establish common tools for “harmless information system.”

Although, it is very contradicting that there is a rapid increase of Internet in China and this would not support the campaign of its very own president. At the same time, China’s political leaders stated that ICT is very essential for the future economic development and China’s globalization activities. The government has even launched it own “government online” in 1999, in order to develop the existence of ministries, administrative department and local government units. The objective of the website is to be more transparent to the people and fight corruption and fraud.

China is trying to regulate the consumption of the Internet in their very liberal-democratic states, focusing their attention to Internet censorship. At the sae time, radical components of digital liberalization that campaigns against unlimited freedom of Internet consumption, it would be very difficult to grasp a control over Internet activities (Phatak, et al., 2005). The Chinese government accepts the fact that regulating ICT is very necessary because this threatens their traditional views on state sovereignty through maintaining a tax based e-commerce, securing the security of confidential information, and prevent Internet criminal activities.

The effectiveness of the Internet policies being imposed by the Chinese is not the only issue. Another issue is that making some radical changes to the characteristics of the Internet under the commercialization is very difficult. Because this may result to the more complicated structure and broader connectivity, and may also create new possibilities for monitoring the Internet activities of the subscribers and unveiling their identities (Deresky, 2006). This will violate the privacy of the people in China as their IP address, cities and postcodes may appear when being monitored. The objectives of the said censorship is very complicated, including the implementation of the laws of a specific policies, advertisements, or even making sure that the Websites being used has the proper language.

Since it is very difficult to impose a complete censorship, China is imposing some technical solutions that will able them to monitor private and commercial use of the Internet (Schneider and Barsoux, 2003). Commercial Internet Services Providers and ICP’s are being pressured by he government to be legally liable for any copyright infringements done by their clients, the providers must also be responsible to digital fences in order to prevent illegal duplications. Some experts say that having a control and power in Internet activities in one country like China is not welcome and recognized (Konopaske and Ivancevich, 2004).

It is considered premature to control the cyberspace, when efforts to regulate and control cyberspace have been going on in practically every country, and governments have found allies in the form of commercial enterprises developing appropriate technologies (Francesco and Gold, 2005). The international view point on this kinds of policies implemented by the Chinese government to achieve ‘virtual censorship’ are not constitutional, reflecting as they do ‘the emerging attempts of legislatures, governments and various administrative organs worldwide to incorporate the cyberspace into their sphere of jurisdiction’.

While regulation of the Internet in China is partly based on laws that pre-dated its existence, a series of specific regulations has also been introduced, probably encouraged by the approach of WTO accession. Despite the ongoing streamlining of the state apparatus, formulating this mass of regulations has involved a confusing number of ministries and administrative units. Many are intended to benefit Internet users, such as measures protecting consumers by governing online trading in pharmaceuticals and online educational services, or upholding intellectual property rights and individual privacy.

In sum, it is clearly obvious that the recent regulations constitute an effort by the Chinese government to make a more proactive Internet policy and to provide itself with better instruments for influencing activities in cyberspace (Crane and Rizowy, 2005). This comprises not only content restrictions on the ‘ideological’ level, but also administrative and economic requirements which strengthen the official media as well as consolidating the advantages of bigger and financially well-equipped Internet enterprises. Through these measures, and by offering more contents through projects such as ‘Government Online’, the CCP and the government hope to be able actively to set the agenda for the Internet in China.

The means of communication like e-mail played a central role when its members secretly planned and organised a mass demonstration in April 1999, right in front of the CCP’s headquarters at Zhongnanhai, Beijing, which seems to have caught the Chinese leadership completely by surprise.

The group, whose spiritual leader lives in the United States, certainly propagates its ideas on a number of Websites outside China (Deresky, 2006). When the movement was declared illegal after the demonstration in Beijing, a fairly orthodox campaign to criticise it was accompanied by the transformation of cyberspace into something of an electronic battlefield as the authorities sought to paralyse servers housing the group’s Websites through measures such as ‘e-mail bombs’, flooding the sites with large amounts of meaningless data.

Access from China to the IP addresses of the group’s Websites in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom was also blocked. In fact, the majority of charges for ‘political’ offences in cyberspace might well be in relation to Falungong. For example, several students of Beijing’s Qinghua University were reportedly charged in 2000 and 2001 and sentenced to long jail terms for posting articles criticising government policy with respect to Falungong and for downloading and distributing material related to the movement.


n general, this kind of censorship can be divided into proactive and reactive measures. The blocking

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of Websites is an obvious case of proactive censorship, and is applied mainly to Websites operated by foreign news services like CNN, the BBC or international human rights organisations. Judging from available reports, such blocking seems to be rather erratic and unsystematic (Hill, 2004). It should also be noted that certain IP addresses have become unreachable at times due to bottlenecks in international data traffic. While bandwidth capacity has been enormously expanded during recent years, the number of Internet users in China has grown even faster.

In an authoritarian state, where citizens have lived with censorship for decades, the issue might present itself in a different light. Doubts with respect to ‘availability’, but even more so with respect to the ‘confidentiality’ of electronic information, would suggest a lack of ‘trust capital’ and a good amount of insecurity concerning the capacities of the state (and its helpers) to watch what is going on in cyberspace. Such a vision could explain why the majority of censorship measures in Chinese cyberspace are in fact rather limited. Police forces and courts only need to become active sporadically if high-profile arrests and sentences can be made to constitute an effective deterrence by demonstrating the risks associated with dissident behaviour.

The trick for the state is thus to nurture an attitude of ‘voluntary’ self-control and self-censorship among users, a ‘firewall within one’s head’ as the People’s Daily puts it (Phatak, et al., 2005). The regulations need not necessarily be enforced in a strict sense to achieve this. In fact, it may actually be to the benefit of the state to leave a degree of vagueness in the terminology it uses, interpreting regulations in as loose or as strict a sense as is necessary to ensure that users and providers will always err on the side of caution when it comes to assessing the risks of dissent. For example, practically any kind of information can be declared to be a ‘state secret’ in China, even seemingly harmless statistical data on the last grain harvest. In this way, laws become a mere supplement to much more subtle means of psychological control.

Theoretical Framework

The most important concept of this theory is the meta-theory that is utilized to constitute the  Dervin’s sense-making theory.  Essentially, this framework revolves around how people create sense of his surrounding in a given scenario, and particularly how they look for information that handles in bridging the factions that a person has distinguished in reality. In the case of this study, the theory will be used to discuss the current situation and issues of the development of China’s e-commerce.

Dervin’s sense-making theory is chosen for this study for the following reasons:

  • The theory allows the researcher to examine the meanings that are given to the term e-commerce, on the one hand, and to information action, on the other hand there are other important concepts in the study.
  • Dervin’s sense-making theory assumes that data analysis is not a complacent state, but a forceful process, which is another valuable aspect of the study.
  • The framework makes it probable for the researcher to get a specific, definite situation that a researcher could go through.

Research Methodology

Data collection and sample

A largely qualitative methodology will be adopted for primary data collection. This approach is to adopt e-mail/face-to-face questionnaire investigation. The subject will be the current status of Ecommerce in China, which could comprise awareness of Ecommerce, understanding, human purchase behaviour, intention for buying goods via network, frequency, and so on. The objects of the questionnaire will be China’s consumer. Except that, it does also can conduct some specialist interview which in order to discuss some tricky questions. The “face-to-face” interviewing process may become mainly approach of interview; every interviewee will discuss their experience of E-commerce in China during the interview. The interviewees will be presented at a consent form at the beginning of the interview.


         This study will employ qualitative research methods.  Qualitative research is the positivist tradition, which draws upon large numbers to represent the populations they wish to study (Mellon 1990).  This method use statistics to explain certain facts and to predict probable actions under particular conditions.  It is usual for any qualitative research to follow a detailed plan that was established prior to the study (Gliner et al. 2000).  Furthermore, qualitative research distinguishes variables in order to be able to assess their interrelationship through different forms of statistical analysis.

Validation of the Instrument

         The researcher will be using the Likert scale for its survey questionnaire.  For validation purposes, the researcher will initially submit a sample of the set of survey questionnaires and after approval; the survey will be conducted to five respondents.  After the questions were answered, the researcher will ask the respondents for any suggestions or any necessary corrections to ensure further improvement and validity of the instrument.  The researcher will again examine the content of the interview questions to find out the reliability of the instrument.  The researchers will exclude irrelevant questions and will change words that would be deemed difficult by the respondents, to much simpler terms.

Administration of the Instrument

         The researcher will exclude the five respondents who will be initially used for the validation of the instrument.  The researcher will also tally, score, and tabulate all the responses in the provided interview questions.  Moreover, the interview shall be using a structured interview.  It shall consist of a list of specific questions and the interviewer will not deviate from the list or inject any extra remarks into the interview process.

The interviewer may encourage the interviewee to clarify vague statements or to further elaborate on brief comments.  Otherwise, the interviewer attempts to be objective and tries not to influence the interviewer’s statements.  The interviewer will not share his or her own beliefs and opinions.  The structured interview is mostly a “question and answer” session.

Data analysis

Based on the material in hand as well as my practice and personal feeling in past, it have to make further analysis what aspects are needed to improve in future. Of course the experience in other countries is quite helpful to improve trust issue in China. But this dissertation should produce my viewpoints and thoughts according to China’s political, technical and culture situation. In addition, since this will be a small-scale study the data will conduct by using the computer package SPSS windows. Four statistical procedures will be used to analyze the data: frequency distributions, reliability procedure, correlational analysis, and multiple regression analysis.

The Proposed Work Plan

The dissertation shall be divided into five chapters in order to provide clarity and coherence on the discussion of The Status of E-Commerce Trust Issue and Solving Approach in China. The first part of the dissertation will be discussing the problem uncovered by the researcher and provide ample background on the topic.

The chapter shall constitute an introduction to the whole dissertation, the hypothesis, and the statement of the problem in order to present the basis of the study. Moreover, the chapter shall also have a discussion on the scope of its study as well as the significance of the study to society in general and specific issues in the development of e-commerce in China

The second chapter shall be discussing the relevance of the study in the existing literature. After the presentation of the existing related literature, the researcher shall provide a synthesis of the whole chapter in relation to the study.

The third part of the study shall be discussing the methods and procedures used in the study. The chapter shall comprise of the presentation of the utilized techniques for data collection and research methodology. Similarly, it shall also contain a discussion on the used techniques in data analysis as well as the tools used to acquire the said data.

The fourth chapter shall be an analysis on the tabulated data. After the said tabulation, the data are statistically treated in order to uncover the relationship of the variable involved in the study. With the said data, the chapter seeks to address the statement of the problem noted in the first chapter.

The last chapter shall comprise of three sections, the summary of the findings, the conclusions of the study, and the recommendations. With the three portions, the chapter shall be able to address the verification of the hypothesis stated in the initial chapters of the study.

Ethical Issues

The interviewer must see to it that confidentiality is fostered between the researcher and the respondent. It must be made clear to both respondent and the interviewer that any information exchanged and stated by the patient will remain confidential.



Crane, Robert and Rizowy, Carlos. (2005). Latin American Business Cultures. Prentice Hall.

Creswell, J.W. (1994) Research design. Qualitative and quantitative approaches. Thousand Oaks, California: Sage

Deresky, Helen. (2006). International Management: Managing Across Borders and Cultures. Prentice Hall.

Donthu, N. & Garcia, A. (1999). The Internet shopper. Journal of Advertising

Francesco, Anna Marie and Gold, Baryy. International Organizational Behavior. Prentice Hall.

Gliner, Jeffrey A., David I. Macphee, David Macphee, and George A. Morgan.  2000,  Research Methods in Applied Settings: An Integrated Approach to Design and Analysis.  Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Hill, Charles. (2004). Global Business Today with Business Plan CD Powerweb and Map. McGraw Hill.

Hoskin, K. W. (1990). ‘Using History to Understand Theory: A Reconsideration of

Knights, D., and Morgan, G. 1991). “‘Corporate Strategy, Organizations and

Konopaske, Robert and Ivancevich. (2004). Global Management and Organizational Behavior. McGraw Hill.

Luftman, J.N.; Lewis, P.R; Oldach, S.H. (1993). Transforming the Enterprise:

Mellon, Constance Ann.  Naturalistic Inquiry for Library Science: Methods and Applications for Research, Evaluation, and Teaching.  1990.  New York: Greenwood Press.

Mitchell, A. (1994). The Hi-Tech Hybrid. Marketing Guide to Marketing

Phatak, Arvind, Bhagat, Roger and Kashlak, Roger. (2005). International Management: Managing in a Diverse and Dynamic Global. McGraw Hill.

            Presidents and Prime Ministers.  Vol. 9, Issue 4.  Norway: EQES, Inc.

            Research. 39 (3), 52-58.

Schneider, Susan and Barsoux, Jean-Louis. (2003). Managing Across Cultures. Prentice Hall.

            Subjectivity: A Critique'”, Organization Studies, 13(2): 211-28.

Sydnes, Anne Kristin. (July 2000).  ”ICT Examples in Developing Countries.”

            Technology, 23 June, pp. v-vi.

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