Will B2C E-Commerce Developed in One Cultural Environment Be Suitable for Another Culture Essay

Will B2C E-commerce Developed in One Cultural Environment be Suitable for Another Culture: A Cross-Cultural Study between amazon. co. uk (UK) and dangdang. com (China) Qi-Ying Su Information Systems & Computer Applications, University of Portsmouth 1-8 Burnaby Road, Burnaby Terrace, Portsmouth, UK Tel: 0044-(0) 23 8284 6447 Carl Adams Information Systems & Computer Applications, University of Portsmouth 1-8 Burnaby Road, Burnaby Terrace, Portsmouth, UK Tel: 0044-(0) 23 8284 6447 Joanna. [email protected] ac. uk ABSTRACT In an era of seemingly e-everything e-commerce is changing the way people do business and impacting shopping habits.

Increasingly this change has an international dimension in both trans-national transactions and exporting e-commerce business models from one culture to another. Typically this last element has involved exporting Western e-business models to the rest of the world. However, it is unclear if an e-commerce business model developed in one cultural environment would be suitable for another culture. This paper attempts to explore this question by investigating two cases: amazon. co. uk in the West (UK) and dangdang. com in the East (China).

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In addition, differences between countries may be due to deep embedded cultural aspects, differences in infrastructure and business environment or a mix of these. The study in this paper draws upon secondary data, primary interview data and survey data of user practices. Amazon. com is probably one of the most written about e-commerce cases and there is a much secondary data to support an investigation. Dangdang. com is less well know and covered in the literature (at least in the West) so face-to-face interview data is used to develop the case study.

To understand user practices the study uses survey data, focusing on selected groups in Beijing (China) and Portsmouth (UK). To help investigate and analyze the two cases this paper draws upon Hofstede’s cultural works, particularly the individualism vs. collectivism cultural dimension. For the case studies, different cultural aspects and differences in the infrastructure and business environment are identified. Differences in user practices and the environment seems to indicate that e-commerce business models suitable for the West may not be totally suitable for the East. Carl. Ad[email protected] ac. uk “e-everything”.

In the late 1990’s the start of the E-commerce era, a proliferations of dot. com companies emerged. Using Turban et. al’s (2004) definition of e-commerce as: “Ecommerce describes the process of buying, selling, or exchanging products, services, and information via computer networks, including the Internet. ”(p. 4). We saw a proliferation of new business, new business processes and new ways of doing business in buying and selling. This e-era of global interaction means that e-commerce business and technology developed in one cultural environment would increasingly be applied in other cultural environments.

However, it is unclear how suitable e-commerce business and technology would translate across cultures. There are several different types of EC, such as “Business-to-business (B2B) refers to e-commerce are businesses or other organizations; Business-to-consumer (B2C) refers to the e-commerce model in which business sell to individual shoppers. ” (Turban, 2004, p. 7). This paper focuses on B2C e-commerce development in China and the UK, two markedly different cultural environments. 1. 1 B2C E-commerce Development China compared with the West in

In 1993, Professor Wang Ke from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences first explained the concept of e-commerce in China. At that time, some scholars and experts were worried that the development of e-commerce would affect traditional retailing and wholesale industries, eventually leading to higher unemployment rates (He, 2000). In April 1997, the first online bookstore-Xinhua bookstore was opened in Hangzhou, China. Unfortunately, the bookstore closed with no sales after one year. On March 6, 1998, the first online sale in China happened, when the Beijing Century Intercom Technology Company sold its first item over the Internet (He, 2000).

By early 2000 only 9% of Chinese Internet had made purchases online, this had increased to 31% at the end of 2000 and 37. 8% in 2001 (CNNIC, 2002). This compares to 59% of European Internet users purchases goods online during November 2001 to April 2002 (GfK, 2002). China has a relatively small proportion of Internet retail sales compared with the West (Wang, 2002). He (2000) states to develop e-commerce in China, several aspects should be considered: first, the population of personal computer users; second, information infrastructure plays an important role in the growth of e-commerce. He also identifies

Key Words Cross-cultural; Individualism vs. Business-to-customer (B2C) e-commerce collectivism; 1. INTRODUCTION According to Chaffy (2002) we are living in an era of Permission to make digital or hard copies of all or part of this work for personal or classroom use is granted without fee provided that copies are not made or distributed for profit or commercial advantage and that copies bear this notice and the full citation on the first page. To copy otherwise, or republish, to post on servers or to redistribute to lists, requires prior specific permission and/or a fee. ICEC’05, August 15–17, 2005, Xi’an, China.

Copyright 2005 ACM 1-59593-112-0/05/08…$5. 00. 236 other important lessons we should learn from the West e-commerce development. The first is online payments. For China, this support does not only mean technology or regulation, but also how to stimulate customers to adopt the advantages of online payment mechanism, such as credit card payment. The second is the support provided by distribution and delivery channels. Although there is no comparable distribution and delivery company like UPS or FedEx in China to perform national delivery functions, there are a lot of potential to develop distribution channels and resources in China.

Actually, the development of e-commerce will allow these distribution channel resources to be fully exploited. Major Internet players not only provide information services to consumers and small and mid-sized businesses, but also become a driving force behind the e-commerce economy. 1. 2 Internet users in China Chinese Internet users are increasing day by day. Table1 shows the report from CNNIC (2004), Chinese Internet users are increasing so fast from 0. 62 million in 1997 to 87 million in 2004. Although China has the great number of Internet users, the national Internet coverage is relatively low.

A report from National Bureau of statistics of China, Internet users in China is only 6. 2% of population comparing with 71. 1% in the United States (www. srats. gov. cn). Table 1: 1997-2004 Internet Users in China (Unit: Million) 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 0. 299 0. 542 1. 460 6. 500 10. 020 Computer Host 0. 620 1. 175 4. 000 16. 900 26. 500 Internet users Source: CNNIC (China Internet Network Information Center at http://www. cnnic. net. cn) 2002 16. 130 45. 800 2003 25. 720 68. 000 2004 36. 300 87. 000

As discussed, e-commerce technologies used in China is typically below the average global level, for instance China’s actual online sales and purchases are much lower than United States, Brazil, Germany and Japan (Tan & Wu, 2004; eMarketer, 2004). However, although China’s B2C e-commerce development is lower than West, it still has the potential to dominate the online shopping industry (Interfax, 2004). This comparison is important when considering e-commerce use, such as in the case studies described late. Other differences may be due to cultural differences.

The following sections will introduce individualism vs. collectivism cultural dimension, and then will examine consumer choice and behaviour in individualistic/collectivistic cultures. Then the research is described starting with a survey methods in this paper of consumers’ decision-making in individualistic/collectivistic cultures, consumers’ attitudes to online shopping and then the in individualistic/collectivistic cultures, comparison of the cases studies between Amazon. co. uk and Dangdang. com. psychology (Triandis, 1995). According to Hofstede, Individualism refers to he ties of individuals in one society being loose, so that everyone needs only to look after himself or herself and his or her immediate family. Collectivism as its opposite refers to the close relationship in societies which are integrated into strong, cohesive groups from birth through people’s lifetimes, in order to protect them in exchange for unquestioning loyalty (Hofstede, 1991). Triandis (1994) used the terms idiocentric (who selects mostly individualist solutions) and allocentric (who selects mostly collectivist solutions) to analyze the individual level that correspond with individualistic and collectivistic cultural levels.

He argued all of us have both individualist and collectivist tendencies and the difference is individualist selves, attitudes, values and behaviours in one culture being probably higher than in others. Hofstede’s work has been very influential and given a basis for further investigation. Mead (1998) emphasized the strengths of Hofstede’s cultural dimensions are unique and significant, and no one has done the research covering so many people. Especially I/C cultural dimension is unique in cross-cultural studies that summarize the differences between individualist and collectivist on decision-making, personality and customer behaviour.

National cultures influence people to make decisions relying on different kinds of information (Han & Shavitt, 1994). Individualistic and collectivistic characteristics are the main cause of the differences between national cultures (Zandpour & Harich, 1996). Culture affects all stages of consumer decision-making (Engel, Blackwell & Miniard, 1995). I/C culture dimension influences consumer choice and consumer decision-making (Hofstede, 1998). According to Hofstede, people in collectivistic cultures generally consult family or friends when they make decisions, for example, go shopping. . INDIVIDUALISM VS. COLLECTIVISM CULTURAL DIMENSION There are many different definitions about culture. In this paper, Hofstede’s definition is used who describe culture is as “the mental programming-software of the mind” (Hofstede, 1991, p4). From Hofstede’s point of view, the word culture refers to national culture, which is the collective programming of the mind acquired by a country (Hofstede, 1991, 2001). Hofstede’s study covered IBM employees in 72 countries, producing more than 116,000 questionnaires from 1968 to 1973. Many questions were bout values (Hofstede, 2001). Hofstede summarized four dimensions of culture: Power Distance (refers to the distance of individuals in a hierarchy. ); Uncertainty Avoidance (refers to the degree to which a society tries to control the uncontrollable. ); Individualism vs. Collectivism (refers to the relations between individual and his/her family or fellows. ); and Masculinity vs. Femininity (refers to the distribution of roles between genders. ) (ibid). 2. 2 Consumer choice behaviour individualistic/collectivistic cultures in 2. 1 Individualism vs. collectivism (I/C)

The I/C constructs have been discussed in many contexts in the social sciences, which include philosophy, anthropology, sociology, management, political science, economics, and Until recently, the impact of culture to consumer behaviour has studied by some researchers. Engel, Blackwell & Miniard (1995) state culture affects all stages of consumer decision making. Hofstede (1998), Triandis (1995), Shweder (1990), Miler, Bersoff & Harwood (1990) explore the impact of 237 individualistic culture and collectivistic culture to consumer choice and consumer decision-making. “The individualism vs. ollectivism culture dimension influences consumer choice and consumer decision-making. Decisions on consumption behaviour are rarely purely individual. In collectivistic cultures, individual decisions will be made in consensus with the group and there are no purely individual decisions. ” (Hofstede, 1998, p65) In collectivistic cultures, people are more likely to consider themselves in terms of group membership and place great value on its welfare (Triandis, 1995). In contrast, in individualistic cultures, people are more likely to think themselves as autonomous and place a higher value on their individual nterests (Shweder, 1990). In collectivistic cultures, non-life-threatening violations of social responsibilities are likely to be viewed in moral terms, whereas they are viewed as matters of personal choice in individualist countries (Miler, Bersoff, & Harwood, 1990). In individualistic cultures, personal goals tend to take priority over group goals; while in collectivistic cultures, group goals are more likely to have priority (Triandis, 1994). Hofstede (1998) notes that in collectivistic cultures, members of the inner and outer circle play different roles.

Whereas in individualistic cultural, few other people will influence decision making, which is an individual activity. He continues to note that culture influences buying behaviour, and the cultural values influencing role behaviour is latent in the more traditional countries become manifest when countries modernize. Such as, parents play a more important role in collectivistic cultures than they do in individualistic cultures. Next section will introduce the method and methodology used in this paper. 3. METHODS AND METHODOLOGY USED IN THIS PAPER In this research, a broadly interpretive approach has been used.

Neuman (1997) notes the interpretive approach expresses social life based on social interactions and socially constructed meaning systems, which can help researchers to understand human thought and action in social and organizational contexts depending on the cultural meaning system. Both qualitative and quantitative methods used in this paper. Qualitative data included face-to-face interviews, questionnaire survey and secondary data; quantitative data was from questionnaire survey or government reports. 3. 1 Questionnaire collection survey and data In this study, a questionnaire survey was set up in Beijing (China) and Portsmouth (UK).

The questions covered details about consumers’ decision-making, shopping habits and attitudes to online shopping. The questions were derived from Hofstede’s original survey. Participants were drawn from 4 different cohorts in both Beijing and Portsmouth. In Beijing, the questionnaire was translated from English into Chinese. CNT participants were from a very good school. Teachers were asked to organize their students to answer the questionnaire in classes. In Portsmouth, UKT participants were from a good school. Teachers were asked to send the questionnaires to students directly and then asked them to hand in.

The similar methods used to the other three groups: CNU vs. UKU, CNS vs. UKS, and CNR vs. UKR. The answer rates were high (see table 2). Table 2 Questionnaire survey in Beijing (China) and Portsmouth (UK) Abbreviation (group) Sent Received Percentage (%) CNT (Teenagers in China) 140 133 95 UKT (Teenagers in the UK) 100 93 93 CNU (University students in China) UKU (University students in the UK) CNS (Company staff in China) UKS (Company staff in the UK) CNR (Retired people in China) UKR (Retired people in the UK) Total The analysis for this paper examines the responses from similar groups, i. e. eenagers with teenagers. The responses were analyzed using an independent sample t-test method (95% confidence interval of the difference) to identify any significant differences. Collis & Hussey (2003) give the definition of t-test as: A t-test is a parametric technique which compares population parameters using two independent or related samples drawn from two populations; data must be at least of interval status (p244). As cross-cultural comparison, an independent sample t-test is robust and suitable in this research. 120 120 120 120 20 30 770 106 109 100 79 20 20 660 88 91 83 66 100 67 86 . 3 Face-to-face interviews Face-to-face interviews were conducted for the case study in China. One interviewee was from Dangdang. com and another from a technology company. They were both experts in this field. 3. 4 Secondary data Secondary data was from government statistics and survey results by other organizations or research institutions, and information from websites have been cited in the paper. The following sections will discuss this research findings and results. 3. 2 Case studies Comparison case studies used to understand B2C e-commerce development in China and the UK.

Analyzing two real world cases: Amazon. co. uk (UK) and Dangdang. com (China), they were both successful cases in the UK and China. 238 4. NATIONAL CHARACTERISTICS: SIMILARITIES AND DIFFERENCES National characteristics are changing in response of technological development, such as, the relationship between individual and family/friends. Internet development makes the communication between people become easier and easier, such as a person who can send e-mail to his/her family/friends or chatting with others via Internet.

This section will explore national cultures’ similarities and differences from shopping habits and attitudes to online shopping in individualistic country and collectivistic country. e-commerce in different countries. 4. 2. 2 Cost and convenient In Q2, significance was found between CNT and UKT (p < 0. 05), 63% of UKT and 34% of CNT thought shopping via Internet was “cheap, fast, convenient”, however nearly 12% of UKT and 32% of CNT showed they “didn’t know” online shopping, and 17% of UKT and 10% of CNT showed “didn’t like online shopping”; a highly significance was found between CNS and UKS (p < 0. 01). 37% pf CNS and 66% of UKS thought online shopping was “cheap, fast, convenient”, 20% of CNS and 7% of UKS showed “didn’t like online shopping” and 26% of CNS and 13% of UKS showed “didn’t know”. The results showed UKU and UKS preferred online shopping much higher than CNU and CNS. The cost and convenient of online shopping will affect consumers’ choice behaviour in e-commerce development. If consumers think the cost of online shopping is cheaper than shopping directly and it is also very convenient, they will prefer to go shopping online.

So, price of items/goods will be very important in developing e-commerce. 4. 1 Shopping habits In appendix 1, a significant difference was found for “buy goods on impulse”. UKT was higher than CNT (P < 0. 05) and UKU was higher than CNU (p < 0. 001). The result showed teenagers and university students in the collectivistic samples usually think about shopping more carefully than those from the individualistic samples. A very highly significant difference was found on “shopping for food by myself”. CNT was higher than UKT (p < 0. 01). According to the aspects of decision-making suggested by Hofstede (1991, 2001) indicating people in collectivistic cultures generally consult family/friends and people in individualistic cultures usually do independent/impulse when making decisions. Chinese teenager sample showed individualistic cultural dimension. Interestingly, according to the findings of above discussion, the collectivistic sample contained individualistic attributes and the individualistic sample contained many collectivistic attributes.

British samples from individualistic culture showed collectivistic culture in consulting his/her close family before making a decision and Chinese samples from collectivistic culture showed individualistic culture in deciding everything by himself/herself. This result supports Triandis’s (1994) work, where he argues that everyone has both individualist and collectivist tendencies. This research results showed that national characteristics were similarities and differences both in Beijing and Portsmouth.

However, whether individualist or collectivist, people still keep their own independent and deep-rooted cultural characteristics today: individualistic culture contains collectivistic culture and vice versa. 4. 2. 3 Items/goods In Q3, a highly significant difference was found between CNU and UKU (p < 0. 001). 76% of CNU and 47% of UKU thought “small value items, e. g. CD, books” would be suitable to buy via the Internet, however, 23% of UKU and only 5% of CNU thought “everything” would be suitable to buy via the Internet. A significant difference was found between CNS and UKS (p < 0. 01). 44% of CNS and 40% of UKS thought “small value items, e. g. CD, books” would be suitable to buy via the Internet, however, 20% of CNS and 34% of UKS showed thought “everything” would be suitable to buy via the Internet. The results showed the suitable items/goods (books, CD) sold by online shops influenced people to choose the shopping methods. So, selling suitable items/goods, which can be accepted by consumers, will win more and more consumers to choose online shopping. 4. 2. 4 Payment methods In Q4, a highly significant difference was found between CNS and UKS (p < 0. 01) and 55% of UKS thought the best payment method for buying goods/items via the Internet was “credit card”, however, 79% of CNS and 19% of UKS thought the best method was “cash on deliver”. A significant difference was found between CNR and UKR. 75% of CNR and 33% of UKR thought the best method was “cash on deliver”, however, 0% of CNR and 40% of UKR thought the best method was “credit card”. The results showed paying by credit cards was no popular in China. So, in developing cross-cultural e-commerce, managers should think about different payment methods in different countries.

Such as, ask customers to pay by credit/debit cards in China like in the UK, it’s not reality. 4. 2 Consumers’ attitudes to online shopping Appendix 2 showed the attitudes to online shopping by four different cohorts in Beijing and Portsmouth. In this study, some elements had been found influencing consumers’ attitudes to online shopping in different cultural environments. The results will give good suggestions and implications in developing future cross-cultural e-commerce in different cultural environments. 4. 2. 1 Age and occupation In Q1, highly significances were found between CNT and UKT, CNU and UKU, and CNS and UKS.

UKT showed higher frequency to access the Internet more than CNT; UKU showed higher than CNU; however, CNS showed higher than UKS and there was no significance between CNR and UKR. This result shows young generation in the UK samples use Internet technology more than those samples in China, however, company staff in China use Internet more than the UK sample. The results implied age and occupation influence people to use technology. Suggestion: marketing managers should think about the potential customers in developing cross-cultural 4. 2. 5 Security, quality and credit

In Q5, highly significant differences were found between CNT & UKT (p < 0. 001), CNU & UKU (p = 0. 001), and CNS & UKS (p < 0. 001). 27% of CNT, 75% of CNU and 76% of CNS worried about “quality and credit”, however, only 6% of UKT, 7% of UKT and 3% of UKS worried about “quality and credit”; 67% of UKT, 63% of UKU and 57% of UKS concerned “security”, however, only 8% of CNT, 16% of CNU and 4% of CNS concerned “security”. The results showed Chinese people concerned quality and credit of products more than British, however, British people concerned security much more than Chinese. In developing cross-cultural e-commerce, security, 39 quality and credit will be the main concerns of customers. If consumers trust the security of the Internet, the quality of products, they would like to choose online shopping. Over all, for the samples investigated, consumers’ shopping habits and attitudes to online shopping influence them to choose online shopping. In development B2C e-commerce, company staff in both countries are the main customers, however, university students with high-level education will be the potential customers. Consumers’s decision-making, shopping habits and attitudes influence them to choose online shopping.

Age, occupations, price/cost of items/goods, security, quality and credit affected their behaviour in choosing online shopping. Therefore, for these respondents, in developing cross-cultural B2C e-commerce, the West business model is not totally suitable for the East or vice versa. Next section will analyze real world cases to support this conclusion. In 1996, China had no equivalent database like Amazon. Mrs. Yu and Mr. Li spent nearly 3 years to construct their own with more than 210,000 titles before 1999 (The Economist, 2003) Dangdang posted its first profit in December (Chen, 2003).

It is not easy for any e-commerce business to make money in China. Now, there are about 800. 000 unique visitors and takes up to 4,000 orders in Dangdang a day. It’s products books, DVDs, CDs and other items, such as bags, gifts. In 2002, Dangdang earned money 35,000,000 RMB, with gross margins of 25%, closed to Amazon’s 28% (The Economist, 2003). Now, Dangdang. com’s business covers 12 cities in China and their presence is expanding. 6. ANALYSIS AND DISCUSSIONS Amazon. co. uk was a successful case of e-commerce in the UK and Dangdang. com was also a successful case in China.

Lets consider their business models. Marketing manager of Dangdang. com (A face-to-face interview happened on Dec. 12, 2003), introduced: In Dangdang. com developing, very much with Amazon as her guide. Mrs. Yu, the co-founder of Dangdang. com and her colleagues had studied a lot of experience from Amazon, however, it was not easy to move the business model of Amazon. com into to China under Chinese cultural and technological environment. They had to consider China’s characteristics and build up the policies, which were suitable for Chinese customers and China market.

He talked about this from the following obstacles: • Online payment plays a key role in e-commerce. In China, payment validation from a bank takes about 10 days. If customers use credit cards there is a 5% service fee for transaction with many restrictions. In Dangdang business relatively few customers use credit cards, and some send money orders via the post office. However, most of dangdang’s customers prefer to use cash on delivery. This compares to Amazon. co. uk, where most customers use credit cards or debit cards. Logistics system. In China, the traditional logistic service quality is not good enough for e-commerce.

Dangdang. com tries to run its business like Amazon, however, it is without the plastic and U. P. S or FedEx equivalent. So, Dangdang uses bicycle courier companies in 12 cities to deliver its products and collect the cash, which is then transfer to Dangdang. Government policy is very important in development B2C e-commerce. China government supports e-commerce, however, the social support systems are not suitable to modify Amazon’s business model in the West countries. So, dangdang has set up its own business model, which is suitable to Chinese customers and Chinese cultural environments. Management information system (MIS).

Dangdang has set up a relevant perfect management information system. The customers’ information kept in Dangdang. com is safe, so consumers do not worry about security here. Customer service. Dangdang has the policy to pick up its products from customer’s home (office) directly without pay if the customer is not satisfied with the quality of products. Customers are happy with this method. 5. AMAZON. CO. UK (UK) VS. DANGDANG. COM (CHINA) 5. 1 Amazon. co. uk Since Amazon. com is probably one of the most written about e-commerce cases there is a much secondary data to draw up for an investigation and comparison.

For this study Amazon’s own web site was used and the excellent book “Cases in e-Commerce” by Rayport & Jaworski (2002). Amazon. co. uk is one of five internationally focused websites operated by Amazon. com (will introduce later). Amazon. co. uk is the trading name for Amazon. com Int’l Sales, Inc. and Amazon Service Europe SARL. Amazon. co. uk has its origins in an independent online store, Bookpages, which was established in 1996 and acquired by Amazon. com in early 1998. Amazon. com, is one of the Fortune 500 companies, and arguably the “Earth’s Biggest Bookstore”, began operating in July 1995 in Seattle, Washington.

Jeffrey Bezos, is the founder and chief executive officer. The original name was “Cadabra”, but it made consumers confused (they seemed to confuse it with “Cadaver”), so Bezos selected the name “Amazon. com” instead and hoped consumers would remember the world biggest bookstore as same as the world biggest river. Amazon. co. uk, as one of the international websites operated by Amazon. com, strives to be the world’s most customer-centric company where customers can find and discover anything they might want to buy online.

There are many different categories and products now sold on Amazon including Books, Music, Video, DVD, PC & Video Games, Electronics & Photos, Kitchen & Home, Toys and Kids, DIY & Tools and Garden & Outdoors. • • 5. 2 Dangdang. com Dangdang. com, called the “Earth’s biggest online bookstore in Chinese” (www. dangdang. com) or “China’s Amazon” (The Economist, Aug. 23, 2003), was developed very much with an ‘Amazon’ approach or with “Amazon as Her Guide” (Chen, 2003). It was opened in November 1999 by a couple, Mrs. Yu and Mr. Li, as the co-founders and co-presidents. Dangdang pronounced Dong-Dong.

The name includes three main meanings: “ a Chinese expression, xiang dangdang, which means excellent; an onomatopoeic coinage based on the sound of a popular Japanese animated character, a cat named Doraemon, who is known as xiao dingdang in Chinese. ” (Chen, 2003). • • 240 Dangdang also has the policy as Amazon that customer must return its products by post office during one week after he/she receives the product. Based on above case examined and the survey responses, three main elements seem to influence B2C e-commerce development in the two different cultural environments: markets.

The research results provide indications and likely give useful information for marketing managers: three elements influence consumers’ attitudes and behaviour to choosing online shopping. So, different strategies and services to customers should be considered when developing future B2C e-commerce which crosses cultural environments. 6. 1 Individual requirements Individual requirements here refer to those influencing individual attitude, shopping habits. Such as individual age, occupation and needs. For example Amazon bought Joyo. com as its seventh website in 2004 (It’s a little bit regret to Dangdang. om. ), which means Amazon starts to enter China Market. Language in Joyo’s website is Chinese, it’s suitable to Chinese overseas, Chinese local people or those who know Chinese. If amazon use English as computer language in China, it will lost its market share and customers. 8. LIMITATIONS AND CONCLUSION This paper has examined consumers’ attitudes to online shopping in Beijing and Portsmouth and compared real world cases: Amazon. co. uk and Dangdang. com, using the I/C cultural dimension. The two cities are very different. The participants are limited in Beijing and Portsmouth.

To consider Beijing or Portsmouth, as ‘one’ culture is misleading: there are likely to be an array of different subcultures in both cities. Consequently it is not possible to make generalized predictions from such a small and limited sample. The questionnaire is designed focused on issues about “shopping habits” and “attitudes to online shopping”. This questionnaire survey might exist “captive audience” which means listeners or onlookers who have no choice but to attend (Ammer, 1997). The answers might have differently if given a different environment, time, and place with a different attitude.

The data analysis method used is an independent sample t-test with 95% confidence interval. Language understanding might contain ambiguities (For example Chinese students understand questionnaires in English. ). Finally, the time of two real cases compared was controlled before August 2004 due to B2C e-commerce is developing and changing rapidly in China. The findings of this study have highlighted some cultural differences for the groups in Beijing and Portsmouth by examining consumers’ shopping habits and attitudes to online shopping.

In the Chinese sample, which is typically described as collectivist, individualism attributes exist. In the UK example, which is typically described as individualist, collectivism attributes exist. However, there still exist cultural differences between the two samples, such as: difference in online payment, government policy, logistics system, security policy, customer service, MIS, return products policy and language problem. It is questionable if a western B2C e-commerce business model will seamlessly move to China or vice versa.

Although this study has shown some contributions to both cultural theory and B2C e-commerce practice, the research result will provide a useful reference in developing cross-cultural B2C e-commerce. Suggested future research will focus on different level participants in different cities and different countries. In developing B2C e-commerce, different marketing strategies should be designed for different cultural environments. 6. 2 Technological development Technology development here refers to the technology’s reliability, security and quality. CNNIC (2001) survey reports that 62. % of respondents had not tried online shopping had not done so because they lacked confidence in the security systems of e-commerce sites. 6. 3 Social support systems Social support systems here refer to a social legal protection, security systems and service in technology adoption/use. An expert from a technology company (Face-to-face interview, 7 December, 2003) indicates that the two support systems are necessary to develop e-commerce in China: social support system, such as bank system and legal system; and credit rating (individual and company), such as individual payment in time, quality of products.

He emphasized that the two systems are very important in developing e-commerce, without the two systems support, we can’t talk about e-commerce and future m-commerce like West countries. This supports CNNIC’s (2001) report that 47% of respondents had not tried online shopping cited concerns about the quality of products. Cultures influence individual requirements, technological development and social support systems. The three elements influence consumers’ attitudes and behaviour in adopting and using technology (e. g. online shopping via Internet).

Conversely, technology adoption/use influence the three elements and then affect national characteristics. So, West business model will not be totally moved to the East or vice verse in developing cross-cultural B2C e-commerce. 7. CONTRIBUTIONS This paper contributes to both cultural theory and e-commerce practice. Attributes of cultural theory are explored with a survey of customers’ shopping habits and attitudes to online shopping in Beijing and Portsmouth. Comparing real world cases: Amazon. com and Dangdang. com. More up-to-date data is analyzed to explore: will business model in the West be suitable to the East or vice versa?

In developing cross-cultural e-commerce, West business model will not totally be used to the East. By examining the I/C cultural dimension, the findings may be applied to other individualistic and collectivistic cultures and possibly other technologies. This research also makes a significant contribution to e-commerce research in different cultural environments. The research results hint at the trend of B2C e-commerce development and its potential 9. REFERENCE [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] Ammer, C. The American heritage dictionary of idioms. Houghton Mifflin Company, 1997. Chaffy, D. E-business and e-commerce management.

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Appendix 1 An independent sample T-test of consumers’ shopping habits in Beijing and Portsmouth M M Sig. (CNU) (UKU) 2. 38 2. 96 . 000 2. 00 2. 35 . 01 2. 36 2. 81 . 000 2. 13 2. 88 2. 46 . 01 3. 29 . 000 M M Sig (CNS) (UKS) 2. 39 2. 40 2. 32 2. 33 2. 84 2. 56 . 16 2. 55 . 25 2. 91 . 000 2. 53 . 15 3. 33 . 000 M M Sig (CNR) (UKR) 2. 06 2. 50 2. 73 2. 46 3. 24 2. 05 . 97 2. 70 . 62 3. 11 . 21 2. 47 . 99 2. 95 . 38 I prefer to go shopping for … food with my family or friends. clothes with my family or friends. presents with my family or friends. food by myself. clothes by myself. presents by myself.

M=Mean; Sig. =significance 3. 46 2. 58 3. 04 2. 83 2. 85 2. 71 2. 10 2. 24 2. 45 2. 50 2. 36 2. 34 .000 . 10 . 26 . 33 . 74 . 91 3. 31 2. 33 2. 94 2. 40 2. 78 2. 34 2. 01 2. 92 2. 61 2. 69 2. 51 2. 75 .000 . 000 . 01 . 000 . 53 . 08 3. 25 2. 80 3. 38 2. 90 2. 46 2. 68 1. 64 2. 37 2. 37 2. 53 2. 20 2. 53 .14 . 06 . 54 . 03 . 67 . 37 242 Appendix 2 Significant value for an independent samples T-test of attitudes to online shopping Questions Q1. How often do you access the Internet? Q2. What do you think about online shopping? Q3. What things do you think would be suitable to buy via the Internet? Q4.

What do you think is the best payment methods for buying goods/items via the Internet? Q5. Do you have any concerns about shopping via the Internet? M M Sig. M M Sig. M M Sig. M M Sig. (CNT) (UKT) 3. 56 4. 79 2. 66 2. 00 2. 57 3. 48 2. 89 3. 17 1. 65 3. 06 M=Mean; Q=question; Sig. =Significance . 000 . 012 . 061 . 056 . 000 (CNU) (UKU) 4. 26 4. 98 1. 97 1. 74 1. 84 3. 24 2. 82 3. 00 2. 36 2. 95 . 000 . 187 . 000 . 200 . 001 (CNS) (UKS) 5. 11 4. 36 2. 78 1. 82 2. 59 3. 66 2. 24 3. 39 2. 26 3. 22 . 007 . 000 . 020 . 000 . 000 (CNR) (UKR) 1. 87 2. 05 2. 67 3. 00 4. 55 5. 36 1. 92 2. 87 1. 80 2. 21 . 75 . 61 . 44 . 01 . 42 243