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The evolution of the internet of things industry and market in China: An interplay of institutions, demands and supply


  • Kshetri, Nir


This paper seeks to provide some explanation as to how demand-, supply- and institutions-related factors in China have affected the creation and diffusion of Internet of Things (IoT)-related products and services. Concerning demand side factors the paper demonstrates how potential market size and existing technology trajectory work in favor of IoT diffusion. As a related demand side factor the paper argues that, in terms of the technological trajectory, China has started farther from the frontier than most industrialized countries. The degree of incremental benefit from the IoT is thus higher in the country. As to the supply side factors, the article promotes an understanding of how Chinese technology companies have capitalized on a huge user base to develop IoT-based applications. It also suggests that technologies and expertise provided by foreign multinationals have also played crucial roles. Regarding formal institutions, the government's proactive policies have been a major factor in the IoT's evolution. It is also in the Chinese government's interest to develop IoT products to make censorship and surveillance more effective. Regarding informal institutions, Chinese consumers are less concerned than Westerners about being tracked and monitored, which provides a favorable condition for the adoption of IoT-enabled devices. Nonetheless, this condition is changing due to increasing abuse of consumer privacy. China and the U.S. are compared in terms of diffusion, key determinants, performance indicators and impacts of the IoT in order to understand the areas that China outperforms—and underperforms—the U.S. Some indicators are proposed to gauge the IoT-related performance and the impacts of the IoT.

Suggested Citation

  • Kshetri, Nir, 2017. "The evolution of the internet of things industry and market in China: An interplay of institutions, demands and supply," Telecommunications Policy, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 49-67.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:telpol:v:41:y:2017:i:1:p:49-67
    DOI: 10.1016/j.telpol.2016.11.002

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