Business Model Innovation in China during COVID-19: A Multiple-Case Study

Aslak Vestre Størksen

Student thesis: Master thesis


Prior studies examining Business Model Innovation (BMI) lack considerations on the specific Chinese context. Motivated by the growing field of BMI this research paper investigates how four Chinese’ companies innovated their business models (BMs) during a crisis and what Western companies may learn from them. Purpose – This paper aims to investigate how BMI may be leveraged by firms both to assure survival during tough times and how their innovated BMs introduce new revenue streams. As BMI are the source of hefty debates in both academia and practice-oriented communities, this research attempt to elucidate some of the major concepts, their myths and challenges and ultimately demystify both BMI and Chinese business practices. Methodology approach – Multiple-case study: primary data in the form of five semistructured interview from senior management and industry expert in China and secondary data were collected to present evidence on how BMI was administered during an epidemic. The research questions were answered by the analysis of data with the aid of thematic coding. Findings – In a highly digitalized China, people are always prepared for crisis, the political systems are very different, and the consumer behaviour differ greatly from the West. The four case companies demonstrated different approaches to BMI accompanied with a specific strategy and a new BM to tackle challenges presented by lockdown in society. Research limitations – since BMI is a complex concept, this research had to follow one out of three presented directions. Only Chinese’ companies are represented in the study and the data set is moderately limited.

EducationsMSc in Business Administration and E-business, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2021
Number of pages85
SupervisorsXiao Xiao