Will Industrial Districts Exploit B2B? A local experience and a general assessment
What are the prospects of B2B electronic commerce when production is carried out by a number of small firms specialized in single production phases? Prato, Italy, is home to thousands of textile firms as well as the locus of an early and innovative experience of a local Internet in the mid-1980s. This experience suggests that, since they fear to be imatated by their geographical proximates, geographically clustered firms may lag behind in the exploitation of information and communication technologies. Analysis of today's web sites of Pratese firms confiorms this intuition. A similar analysis of web sites is carried out for producers of fabrics worldwide. Contrary to Europe, in Asian countries geographically clustered firms exhibit little fear of information leakages. Differences in the organization of production may explain this puzzle.
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