A Multi-dimensional Analysis of Booming E-commerce (Online Shops) in Urban Villages: Case study in Tongcun

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Submission Summary
In the past decade, E-commerce has thrived with the popularization of the Internet and it has gradually changed people’s daily life. Driven by the low entrance standard and flexible working locations of ‘Taobao’ (a C2C E-commerce company like eBay), e-commerce brings to life a range of burgeoning startup SMEs (Small and medium enterprises) in urban villages where business cost is low and transportation is convenient. Such phenomenon is labelled as "Taobao Village" which has long been regarded as a heated topic among urban planners, who attempt to explain the triumphant development of such unique business ecosystem. Nevertheless, most of them heavily focus on the physical space while failing to consider the impacts from social network, providing only a partial picture of "Taobao Village" upsurges. Therefore, taking Tongcun village in Guangzhou as an example, this paper tries to comprehensively analyze the mechanism of overwhelming developments in the village through on-the-spot investigation and in-depth interviews. Herein, a traditional method, SWOT analysis has been employed to explain this special business ecosystem. The results show that the social network of migrants, micro-agglomerate economy and mixed-use space are the three main reasons for supporting the flourishing E-commerce in Tongcun. Whereas, the passive cooperation from the local residents and the limits of clothing industry are regarded as the hindrances of future development. To conclude, this energetic business ecosystem can provide us some precious experience when the authorities build an economically-sound and spontaneously-formed system within the E-commerce industry. In addition, these self-developing business ecosystems should also be protected as they give some possible future of urban villages, which is known as a “poor” and “undeveloped” area.
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3: Smartness and development. Al-Souq: innovating for performance and management
Department of Urban Planning, School of Architecture, South China University of Technology
South china university of Technology
South china university of Technology

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