Sustainable Competitive Advantages via Temporary Advantages: Insights from the Competition between American and Chinese Digital Platforms in China. By: Li, Feng. British Journal of Management. Nov2021.

The world’s most valuable public companies today are built on digital platforms. While American digital platforms (ADPs) have successfully dominated many international markets, some Chinese digital platforms (CDPs) have managed to survive and thrive in China, with European digital platforms (EDPs) largely absent both at home and abroad. Using comprehensive longitudinal data over 6 years, this study examines the platform competition between ADPs and CDPs in China, and explores how digital platforms challenge traditional ways of thinking about strategy and international competition. Some ADPs initially dominated the Chinese market, but some CDPs used their institutional advantages in China to offset the competitive advantages of ADPs based on superior resources and capabilities and strong market positions. Their competition evolved over three distinctive episodes so far, and CDPs used successive temporary advantages to achieve sustainable competitive advantages dynamically and accomplished radical changes cumulatively through incremental changes. A new dynamic equilibrium model of platform competition – ‘the spiral model’ – between global and native digital platforms is developed, which highlights a trajectory that is different from the dominant models of change in the literature. Limitations of the study and new areas for future research are highlighted.