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E-platform use and exporting in the context of Alibaba: A signaling theory perspective

Ruey-Jer “Bryan” Jean (), Daekwan Kim (), Kevin Zheng Zhou () and S. Tamer Cavusgil ()
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Ruey-Jer “Bryan” Jean: National Chengchi University
Daekwan Kim: Florida State University
Kevin Zheng Zhou: University of Hong Kong
S. Tamer Cavusgil: Georgia State University

Journal of International Business Studies, 2021, vol. 52, issue 8, No 4, 1528 pages

Abstract: Abstract Despite the prominent role played by B2B electronic platforms (E-platforms) in assisting exporters, extant research pays scant attention to how, and under what conditions, exporters can deploy B2B E-platforms to enhance their sales performance. Drawing on signaling theory, we examine how the deployment of E-platforms affects export sales performance via foreign buyer contact. We also explore the moderating roles of institutional environment and export growth strategy. We test our model with a dataset composed of a survey and archival data on Chinese exporters that subscribe to Alibaba.com. The findings indicate that E-platform use positively affects foreign buyer contact and, in turn, export sales performance. This positive effect is even more substantial when exporters originate from regions with less-developed market intermediaries or when the institutional distance between the home and host countries is greater. In contrast, this effect becomes weaker when the level of export market diversification or product diversification is higher.

Keywords: B2B E-platform; Alibaba; signaling theory; institutional environments; export growth strategy (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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DOI: 10.1057/s41267-020-00396-w

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