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Chinese institutions and standardization: The case of government support to domestic third generation cellular standard

By Nir Kshetri, Prashant Palvia and Hua Dai


There are unique and distinct institutional processes associated with the Chinese government's support of the domestically developed third generation (3G) cellular standard, TD-SCDMA. After postponing several times, China awarded three third generation cellular licenses in January 2009: a TD-SCDMA license to China Mobile, a CDMA 2000 license to China Telecom and a WCDMA license to China Unicom. The Chinese government has demonstrated a clear bias in favor of TD-SCDMA. This article examines the role of formal and informal institutions in shaping the Chinese 3G landscape. This paper makes two contributions to the literature. First, this work extends studies on institutional theory focusing on standardization to the context of China. Second, unlike most ICT research which deals with standards originated in the West, this paper's focus on developing country-originated standard provides novel and unique insights related to institutional processes.Institutions China 3G cellular communications Standardization Compatibility TD-SCDMA ITU

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