Breeding Grounds of Digital Platforms: Exploring the Sources of American Platform Domination, China's Platform Self-sufficiency, and Europe's Platform Gap

Sebastian Hermes, Eric Clemons, Maximilian Schreieck, Simon Pfab, Maya Mitre, Markus Böhm, Manuel Wiesche, Helmuth Krcmar

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingArticle in proceedingsResearchpeer-review


EU firms are largely dominated by American platforms in online consumer-facing markets as well as cloud computing services and are likely to face domination in further markets. In contrast, China has mainly escaped American domination and established a self-sufficient platform economy. This situation provides the opportunity to move beyond research on firm-level strategies of platform competitiveness and to assess national factors that foster the emergence and growth of digital platforms. Understanding different platform breeding grounds is essential to guide EU regulators toward a selfsufficient European platform economy and to help them protect EU firms from the risk of exploitation by dominant platforms. These insights are also important to develop a theory of platform regulation, especially as dominant platforms violate EU laws. To address this gap, this study builds upon 32 expert interviews across 7 EU countries and 19 industries. Our results indicate that in general, a fragmented market, risk-aversion, lack of local clusters, and lack of funding and, more specifically, late entrance, legacy systems, and historic dependence have led to the EU’s platform gap. We discuss why and how EU regulators should intervene and propose a regulatory strategy that establishes a selfsufficient EU platform economy.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 28th European Conference on Information Systems (ECIS) : A Virtual AIS Conference
Number of pages18
Place of PublicationAtlanta, GA
PublisherAssociation for Information Systems. AIS Electronic Library (AISeL)
Publication date2020
Article number132
Publication statusPublished - 2020
EventThe 28th European Conference on Information Systems (ECIS) 2020: Liberty, Equality and Fraternity in a Digital World - Virtual Conference, Marrakesh, Morocco
Duration: 15 Jun 202017 Jun 2020
Conference number: 28


ConferenceThe 28th European Conference on Information Systems (ECIS) 2020
LocationVirtual Conference
Internet address
SeriesProceedings of the European Conference on Information Systems


  • Digital platforms
  • Platform dominance
  • Platform regulation
  • Platform breeding grounds

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