Consumers’ intentions to adopt 3G in regional cities in China : a comparative study

Song, Jinzhu (2010) Consumers’ intentions to adopt 3G in regional cities in China : a comparative study. PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology.


Rapid mobile technological evolution and the large economic stake in commercial development of mobile technological innovation make it necessary to understand consumers' motivations towards the latest advanced and updated technologies and services. 3G (the third generation of mobile communication technology) recently started its commercial development in the world‘s largest mobile communication market, China, after being delayed for a few years. Although China fell behind in commercially developing 3G, it is difficult to ignore studying this area, given the size of the market and promising future developments. This market deserves focused research attention, especially in terms of consumer behaviour towards the adoption of mobile technological innovation. Thus, the program of research in this thesis was designed to investigate how Chinese consumers respond to the use of this newly launched mobile technological innovation, with a focus on what factors affect their 3G adoption intentions. It aimed to yield important insights into Chinese consumers‘ innovation adoption behaviours and to contribute to marketing and innovation adoption research. Furthermore, it has been documented that Chinese consumers vary widely between regions in dialect, lifestyle, culture, purchasing power and consumption attitudes. Based on economic development and local culture, China can be divided geographically into distinctive regional consumer markets. Consequently, the results of consumer behaviour research in one region may not necessarily be extrapolated to other regions. In order to better understand Chinese consumers, the disparities between regions should not be overlooked. Therefore, another objective of this program of research was to examine regional variances in consumers' innovation adoption, specifically to identify the similarities and differences in factors influencing 3G adoption, contributing to intra-cultural studies. An extensive literature review identified two gaps: current China-based innovation adoption research studies are limited in providing adequate prediction and explanation of Chinese consumers' intentions to adopt 3G; and there was limited knowledge about the differences between regional Chinese consumers in innovation adoption. Two research questions therefore were developed to address these gaps: 1) What factors influence Chinese consumers' intentions to adopt 3G? 2) How do Chinese consumers differ between regional markets in the relative influence of the factors in determining their intentions to adopt 3G? In accordance with postpositivist research philosophy, two studies were designed to answer the research questions, using mixed methods. To meet the research objectives, the two studies were both conducted in three regional cities, namely Beijing, Shanghai and Wuhan, centred in the three regions of North China, East China and Central China respectively, with sufficient cultural and economical regional variances. Study One was an exploratory study with qualitative research methods. It involved 45 in-depth interviews in the three research cities to gain rich insights into the research context from natural settings. Eight important concepts related to 3G adoption were generated from analysis of the interview data, namely utilitarian expectation, hedonic expectation, status gains, status loss avoidance, normative influence, external influence, cost and quality concern. The concepts of social loss avoidance and quality concern were two unique findings, whereas the other concepts were similar to the findings in Western innovation adoption studies. Moreover, variances in 3G adoption between three groups of regional consumers were also identified, focusing on the perceptions of two concepts, namely status gains and normative influence. The conceptual research model was then developed incorporating the eight concepts plus the dependent variable of adoption intention. The hypothesized relationships between the nine constructs and hypotheses about the differences between regional consumers in 3G adoption were informed by the findings of Study One and the literature reviewed. Study Two was a quantitative study involving a web-based survey and statistical analysis procedure. The web-based survey attracted 800 residents from the three research cities, 270 from Beijing, 265 from Shanghai and 265 from Wuhan. They comprised three research samples for this study and consequently three sets of data were obtained. The data was analysed by Structural Equation Modelling together with Multi-group Analysis. The analysis confirmed that the concepts generated in Study One were influential factors affecting Chinese consumers' 3G adoption intention, with the exception of the concept external influence. Differences were found between the samples in the three research cities in the effect of hedonic expectation, status gains, status loss avoidance and normative influence on 3G adoption intention. The two Studies undertaken in this thesis contributed a better understanding of Chinese consumers' intentions to adopt advanced mobile technological innovation, namely 3G, in three regional markets. This knowledge contributes to innovation adoption and intra-cultural research, as well as consumer behaviour theory. It is also able to inform international and domestic telecommunication companies to develop and deliver more effective marketing strategies across Chinese regional markets. Limitations in the research were identified in terms of the sampling techniques used and the design of the two Studies. Future research was suggested in other Chinese regional markets and into consumer adoption of other types of mobile technological innovations.

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ID Code: 43692
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD)
Supervisor: Drennan, Judy & Andrews, Lynda
Keywords: 3G, Chinese regional cities, mobile phones
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > QUT Business School
Current > Schools > School of Advertising, Marketing & Public Relations
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 27 Jul 2011 05:05
Last Modified: 27 Jul 2011 05:05

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