Service innovation in China: Development and implementation of a logistics platform solution

Research output: Contribution to book/anthology/report/conference proceedingArticle in proceedingResearchpeer-review


Purpose – The aim of this paper is to advance our understanding of service innovation in China and to identify the major drivers and impediments for manufacturing companies pushing into services in China.
Design/methodology/approach – By employing an in-depth longitudinal case of a Chinese company, the paper investigates how a traditional manufacturing company developed and implemented a ‘road-port’ logistics concept in the local context. We draw on the resource-based and institution-based view as well as theories of innovation.
Findings – The ‘road-port’ platform concept has a potential to transform the industry by increasing transparency and connectedness between track owners and third-party logistics (3PL) companies. We find that the service concept helped the company to diversify as well as enhanced its growth and competitive advantages in a very competitive environment of the second and third tier Chinese cities. Both internal and external factors played a significant role in influencing the development and implementation of service innovation in the case. The paper details and discusses the factors that affect service innovation in China.
Research Limitations – The study is exposed to the limitations associated with the use of qualitative methodology based on a single case and geographic delimitation. Rather than providing definite answers, the findings of this study should be seen as propositions which open avenues for future research on the subject.
Implications – The findings may be useful in informing our expectations about the push of many Chinese manufacturing companies into services. The paper provides insights into the development and diffusion of service innovation in many fast transforming industrial companies in China. Lessons for other developing countries can also be drawn from the study.
Originality/value – The paper addresses the topic of service innovation in China, which has so far received a limited attention in the management literature. By presenting an in-depth case study, the paper highlights main factors and dilemmas underpinning how Chinese companies are seeking to create a foundation for growth and development based on innovation.
Key words: Service innovation, logistics services, China, case study
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCapturing value from global networks : Implications for manufacturing, supply chains and industrial policy
Number of pages23
Place of PublicationCambridge, UK
PublisherUniversity of Cambridge, Institute for Manufacturing
Publication date2014
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-902546-45-2
Publication statusPublished - 2014
EventCambridge International Manufacturing Symposium: Capturing value from global networks - Cambridge, United Kingdom
Duration: 10 Sep 201412 Sep 2014
Conference number: 18


ConferenceCambridge International Manufacturing Symposium
CountryUnited Kingdom


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