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2016/2017  KAN-CEBUV2030U  The Digital Dragon from the East: Learning from E-Commerce in China (P)

English Title
The Digital Dragon from the East: Learning from E-Commerce in China (P)

Course information

Language English
Course ECTS 7.5 ECTS
Type Elective
Level Full Degree Master
Duration One Semester
Start time of the course Spring
Timetable Course schedule will be posted at calendar.cbs.dk
Max. participants 50
Study board
Study Board for BSc/MSc in Business Administration and Information Systems, MSc
Course coordinator
  • Lecturer
    Rony Medaglia - Department of IT Management (ITM)
  • Course Coordinator and Lecturer
    Xiao Xiao - Department of IT Management (ITM)
Main academic disciplines
  • Globalization and international business
  • Information technology
  • Management
Last updated on 21-11-2016
Learning objectives
To achieve the grade 12, students should meet the following learning objectives with no or only minor mistakes or errors:
  • Understand and apply the theoretical concepts introduced in the course;
  • Identify and critically assess the regulatory and social environment shaping e-commerce in China;
  • Compare and reflect on the innovative potential of e-business models in China and on their development trajectories;
  • Analyze a real life case of e-commerce in the Chinese market and provide managerial recommendations based on the analysis.
The Digital Dragon from the East: Learning from E-Commerce in China:
Exam ECTS 7,5
Examination form Home assignment - written product
Individual or group exam Individual exam
Size of written product Max. 10 pages
Assignment type Written assignment
Duration Written product to be submitted on specified date and time.
Grading scale 7-step scale
Examiner(s) One internal examiner
Exam period Summer
Make-up exam/re-exam
Same examination form as the ordinary exam
Course content and structure

On September 18, 2014 the world witnessed the largest IPO in history, carried out by the Alibaba corporation, a Chinese e-commerce platform that is an online marketplace, a software vendor, a search engine, and a bank, all in one. Today, Alibaba manages more transactions on its online sites than eBay and Amazon combined.


The emergence of China as a new economic superpower is having implications not only in the way we look at global economic competition but, most importantly, it provides unprecedented opportunities to understand and leverage the creation of ground-breaking innovative business models in the digital world.


This course provides an understanding of the development and the characteristics of e-commerce in China, with the aim of providing students with practical and theoretical skills to understand the impact of unique regulatory and social factors shaping e-commerce, and envision innovative approaches to traditional e-commerce challenges.


Through active learning based on real-life cases, the course explores the peculiarities of the Chinese e-commerce social and regulatory environment, provides tools for understanding the development of e-commerce strategies, and identifies emerging opportunities and challenges of the Chinese digital landscape in a globalized world.


The course will emphasize the regulatory and social factors influencing the use of digital tools for e-commerce in China, focusing on the innovation potential of unique e-commerce solutions.


The goal of the course is twofold: 1) to equip students with knowledge about the e-commerce landscape in China, which allow them to solve practical problems when dealing with the Chinese market; 2) to present students with innovative and successful e-commerce cases in China, which will shed light on how to engage in e-commerce practices in general.

Teaching methods
Lectures, case studies
Student workload
Lectures 24 hours
Preparation of lectures (incl. reading) 100 hours
Workshops 24 hours
Exam preparation 63 hours
Expected literature

(List may still be altered until course beginning)


Journal Articles/Reports:

  • An internet with Chinese characteristics. (2011, July 30). The Economist. Retrieved from http://www.economist.com/node/21524821
  • Avgerou, C., & Li, B. (2013). Relational and institutional embeddedness of Web‐enabled entrepreneurial networks: case studies of netrepreneurs in China. Information Systems Journal, 23(4), 329-350.
  • Bell, D. R., Gallino, S., & Moreno, A. (2014). How to Win in an Omnichannel World. MIT Sloan Management Review, 56(1), 45.
  • Beck, N., & Rygl, D. (2015). Categorization of multiple channel retailing in Multi-, Cross-, and Omni‐Channel Retailing for retailers and retailing. Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, 27, 170–178.
  • Brynjolfsson, E., Hu, Y. J., & Rahman, M. S. (2013). Competing in the age of omnichannel retailing. MIT Sloan Management Review, 54(4), 23-29.
  • Chen, J., Zhang, C., Yuan, Y., & Huang, L. (2007). Understanding the emerging C2C electronic market in China: an experience‐seeking social marketplace. Electronic Markets, 17(2), 86-100.
  • E-commerce in China: A Guide for Australian Business (2015, June). Austrade.Gov.  http://www.austrade.gov.au/ArticleDocuments/1353/ecommerce_in_china_brochure.pdf.aspx.
  • Gawer, A. (2014). Bridging differing perspectives on technological platforms: Toward an integrative framework. Research Policy, 43(7), 1239-1249.
  • Gawer, A., Cusumano, M. A., & Strategy, D. S. (2012). How companies become platform leaders. MIT/Sloan Management Review, 49(2).
  • Martinsons, M. G. (2008). Relationship‐based e‐commerce: theory and evidence from China. Information Systems Journal, 18(4), 331-356.
  • Ooi, C.S. (2007) Un-packing packaged cultures: Chinese-ness in International Business. East Asia: An International Quarterly, 24(2): 111-128.
  • Ou, C. X., & Davison, R. M. (2009). Technical opinion Why eBay lost to TaoBao in China: the Glocal advantage. Communications of the ACM, 52(1), 145-148.
  • Tan, B., Pan, S. L., Lu, X., & Huang, L. (2015). The Role of IS Capabilities in the Development of Multi-Sided Platforms: The Digital Ecosystem Strategy of Alibaba. com. Journal of the Association for Information Systems, 16(4), 248-280.
  • Williams, D. E. (2014). Integrating the conceptual domains of social commerce: a meta-theoretical perspective. The International Review of Retail, Distribution and Consumer Research, 24(4), 361–410.



  • Chen, X. (2015). The Alibaba Group and Online to Offline (O2O) Sales. Ivey Publishing.
  • Lu, J., Tao, Z. & Chan, I. (2007). eBay’s Strategy in China: Alliance or Acuisition? University of Hong Kong.
  • Mohanty, D. (2014). Alibaba Vs. Tencent: The Battle of China’s M-commerce Space. Amity Research Centers
  • Mohanty, D. (2014). Sina Weibo: China’s Twitter? Amity Research Centers
  • Shih, W., Yu, H., & Liu, F. (2015). WeChat: A Global Platform? Harvard Business School Cases
  • Williamson, P. & Wang, J. (2014). Alibaba Group’s Taobao: From Intermediary to Ecosystem Enabler. University of Cambridge
  • Zhu, F. & Smith, A. (2015). Baidu, Alibaba, and Tencent: The Three Kingdoms of the Chinese Internet. Harvard Business School Cases



Textbook (optional, for reference)

  • Gervasi, M. (2015). East-Commerce, A Journey through China E-commerce and the Internet of Things: A Journey through China E-commerce and the Internet of Things. (J. Johnson, Ed.).
Last updated on 21-11-2016