Japanese Business Models for Electronic Commerce: Laying the Foundation of a Ubiquitous Networking Infrastructure with Mobile Phones and Convenience Stores

Vierteljahrshefte zur Wirtschaftsforschung 4 / 2001, S. 546-570

Hilda Joffe

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The last decade has been marked by U.S. leadership on the Internet market. Consequently, in most parts of the world Internet access and usage is PC-centred. This is not the case in Japan, where Internet usage and electronic commerce in business-to-consumer markets is mainly promoted by mobile phones and convenience stores. Japanese e-commerce models are products of the regional urban structure and lifestyles. Distinct features of Japan’s urban areas favouring the use of mobile Internet are traffic jams and long commuting times. They explain why entertainment services are the most popular among mobile Internet contents, since they seem to be most suitable to bridge waiting time in an entertaining way. Another typical feature of Japanese cities are the ubiquitous convenience stores. They have become focal points in the B2C e-commerce, serving as payment and distribution centres, as well as Internet access points through multimedia terminals. Japanese e-commerce models are about to expand to other Southeast Asian countries, where urban structures are similar to those in Japan. One has to conclude that e-commerce in different countries is developing in various ways, according to local culture and habits. Hence, promoting global e-commerce involves the necessity of understanding and respecting local and regional culture and customs

Themen: Digitalisierung