Analyzing platform evolution in the new digital era - case indoor positioning in China
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In recent years, a World 2.0 new digital era has been reshaping the whole business world, leading to the emergence of many new digital platforms, which not only won in their own industry but also started offering services in other industries, including sometimes the emerging fields. In this regard, platforms may become useful for helping companies to expand in the new business area. Nevertheless, as the digital environment is highly dynamic and the platforms are always evolving, it is difficult to find an effective tool to estimate to which degree those platforms could be useful. In the meantime, technological advancements in different industries have been converging into four areas: social media & social networking, mobile/mobility, analytics, and cloud computing, resulting in the formation of a new term – SMAC. The aim of this thesis is to discuss whether SMAC can be used as a tool to assess the platform ecosystem and evaluate the platform evolution. To achieve the objective, a Chinese social networking platform – WeChat was studied with a focus on emerging indoor positioning business. The findings of case analysis can help the focal companies to identify more easily the potential partners in each vertical or horizontal market and to define their expansion strategy more adequately.