New Horizons in International Business series
Edited by Masaaki Kotabe and Preet S. Aulakh
Chapter 13: The Internet and International Business: A Cross-regional Study
13. The Internet and international business: a cross-regional study Indrajit Sinha and Yaniv Gvili Online retailing consists of transactions of products and services over the Internet to ﬁnal consumers. The Internet has now become globally pervasive and widely accessible, and, by all estimates, the commercial potential of ecommerce belies usual estimates. Today 373 million people are connected to the Internet1 and more than 2 million new users get connected each month in North America alone.2 For them 20 million domain names (Web sites) have been established.3 Despite the recently documented high-proﬁle dot-com failures, the worldwide start-up rate of companies selling products and services on the Internet still remains impressive. Analysts predict that the online sales to consumers (B2C) will touch $45 billion in 2000 while total Web sales will reach $190 billion.4 More generally, the Internet has evolved into an extremely powerful and versatile marketing medium for many traditional brick-andmortar ﬁrms. From an international business perspective, the issue that is of interest is to identify the commonalities and variations in the perceptions of global eshoppers toward e-commerce. How are online shopping criteria differentially important to shoppers in different regions? Do non-American buyers perceive that their own country’s e-retailers serve their needs better than American ones? It has been widely reported that the Internet, as a direct channel to global buyers, will help US suppliers extend their reach and target market and circumvent trade barriers imposed by foreign governments. But this theory presupposes that all things being equal international buyers...
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