An ecosystem view on third party mobile payment providers: a case study of Alipay wallet

Jie Guo, Harry Bouwman
2016 Info  
The low penetration of handset based mobile payment in most countries has been an important research topic in the last fifteen years and analyzed from different perspectives. However, the analysis of a single aspect cannot provide a sophisticated answer to the complicated underlying question as to why mobile handset-based payments are not more commonly used. The aim of this paper is to understand how a relatively successful m-payment ecosystem is created and sustained through the coopetition of
more » ... various actors. To that end, we analyse the case of Alipay wallet, the m-payment service provider with the largest market share in China, and focus on understanding the motivations and subsequent actions of the organizations cooperating in the Alipay wallet core ecosystem. The results show that actors with heterogeneous and complementary resources can forge sustainable collaboration. Within an ecosystem, although always constrained by resources and capabilities, the actions that the core actors take and the resulting power imbalances are dynamically changing, reflecting actors' aim of reducing uncertainty. To analyse this complex problem, we examine the case of the Alipay wallet from various perspectives, to understand the inter-organizational issues involved in mobile payment ecosystems. An M-payment ecosystem is a set of interconnected and interdependent organizations that compete and cooperate with each other in a dynamic structure that evolves and develops over time (Peltoniemi, 2006; Moore, 1996; Iansiti & Levien, 2004) . Due to the involvement of multiple interdependent organizations, the resulting complexity can create misalignments among the stakeholders, who all have different strategic incentives, resources, capabilities and prerequisites. In other words, the way all the relevant stakeholders can come on board and sustain collaboration is one of the main issues of concern. The reasons for studying the Alipay wallet case have to do with its relative success and the fact that China has the world's largest mobile subscriber base: the number of mobile subscribers in China reached 1.3 billion as of August 2015 (Kemp, 2015) . The situation in China is favourable for the development of m-payment solutions, with Alipay wallet being the most prominent example (Bakker, 2015) at the time of writing this paper. The main goal of this paper is to identify and analyse: (i) the motivations of the organizations for cooperating in the wallet-payment ecosystem; and (ii) the actions they take in order to reduce/increase dependency and uncertainty. Building on insights from business ecosystem concepts, we use the resource-based view (RBV) and resource dependency theory (RDT) adopting a qualitative research approach, e.g. in-depth interviews with experts and managers from organizations, to understand the Alipay wallet platform/ecosystem in China. The paper is structured as follows. Section 2 presents a review of papers on mobile payment research, with a special focus on articles adopting an ecosystem perspective. Section 3 describes the proposed research framework used to analyse mobile payment ecosystems; we motivate, discuss and explain the framework. In section 4, we discuss the methodology and the background of data collection and analysis, while the results of the analysis are presented in Section 5. The discussions and conclusions are provided in Section 6. Literature review As indicated in a number of studies (Dahlberg et al., 2008b; , literature on mobile payment between 1998 to 2014 has been dominated by two main topics: technology and consumer adoption. Only 31 of the 284 reviewed papers (from 1998 to 2016 March) focused on the mobile payment market or ecosystem, and on three areas in particular: multi-perspective frameworks, m-payment business models, and platform theories and strategies. According to the first view, the articles aim to build a multi-perspective framework for mobile payment ecosystem studies, introducing (and recommending for other mobile payment studies
doi:10.1108/info-01-2016-0003 fatcat:whntup6zt5gedgkxmu72mj6wwe