关键词: 平台, 生态系统, 商业孵化, 架构资源, 专用资源
Abstract: Xiaomi Technology Co., Ltd. (from now on, "Xiaomi"), as a startup, not only has created a miracle of hatching 12 unicorns(till March 2018), but also built the world largest platform of intelligent hardware internet of things (IoT) within less than five years, which offers a case of incubation-oriented platform ecosystem that deserves in-depth study. By analyzing the ecosystem built by Xiaomi, this paper reveals the value-creation mechanisms of multiple actors within it.
For purpose of analyzing the resource linkages among multiple agents of economic interests, we classify the resource linkage into cultural, social and material groups from the viewpoint of entrepreneurial ecosystem, and introduces the concept of architecture resources/assets and appropriate resources/assets based on theoretical lens of platform. The research questions are what kind of resource supporting mechanisms is provided by the incubator (Xiaomi) to incubated startups (called "eco-chain enterprises" by managers viewed) and what is the growth mechanisms of the entire ecosystem.
We adopt nested case study method including the Xiaomi hatching system as the incubator and three incubated startups that embodies a hatching paradigms of "hatching from zero", the typical hatching mode considered by managers viewed, following replicative logic. To guarantee the variety of data sources, we fully make use of publicly accessible collecting channels including: news about Xiaomi, views of Xiaomi executives from their public speaking, company website, Xiaomi Forum and etc., which are also the main data sources. To assure the reliability and validity, we confirm them one by one with both Xiaomi eco-chain managers and Xiaomi hatching department.
The mode of incubating of the Xiaomi eco-system includes the following distinctive elements: 1)initially looking for potential eco-chain enterprises by the venture partners of Xiaomi; 2)exporting the concept of "new domestic products" which addresses high quality and acceptable price to eco-chain entrepreneurs in order to maintain consistent business philosophy; 3)providing systematic support including defining and developing products jointly with eco-chain enterprises, giving endorsement to the eco-chain enterprises in supply china and helping them in quality control; 4) helping eco-chain enterprises to cultivate explosive products with Xiaomi′s own brand, customer base and e-commerce channels.
The resources supported by Xiaomi eco-chain enterprises can be divided into the resources from Xiaomi and the resources attracted by Xiaomi. The former can also be divided into resources that can be recycled for other eco-chain enterprises and resources that just go into a particular eco-chain enterprise, i.e. both architecture resources and appropriate resources are identified. Xiaomi′s resources (culture, concepts and understanding of the market, etc.) have played an excellent role as architecture resources, while the externally attracted resources have played a role of appropriate resources, which have the function of solving the constraints of Xiaomi′s own scale. Thus the resource supporting system forms a resource platform with Xiaomi as the core, which clearly reflects the dominant role of platform core enterprises in value creation.
The growth mechanisms of the entire ecosystem embody in a two-way supporting process, i.e. resources from Xiaomi to support eco-chain enterprises and resources back-feeding from eco-chain enterprises to the ecosystem, which reflects a growth mechanism of iteration. In this two-way supporting process, both Xiaomi and eco-chain companies have played important roles in the growth of the entire ecosystem. On one side, Xiaomi provides a full range of resource supports and meanwhile coordinate various complementing resources through the mechanism of platform to help start-ups to break through the resource constraints of growth specifically embodied in: 1)Xiaomi′s commercial cognition functions as the doorkeeper of system building; 2) the supporting resources form Xiaomi′s architecture resources allows the newly-created enterprises to have the same scale and quality of resources as Xiaomi has, which must be an amazing quantity resources for a startup; 3)the externally attracted resources further break through the resource limitation of the platform. All of the three aspects depict the huge resource supporting role of platform core. On the other side, eco-chain enterprises feedback to platform in turn by expanding the platform core and the boundaries of platform ecosystem, which promotes the scale and quality of the system resources. From the two sides, we assume and argue that the value creation in Xiaomi ecosystem is a kind of leverage in the way of snowball growth, from which Xiaomi (the core) and the eco-chain enterprises become the architecture resources at the same time which can improve the quality of the platform, attract new accessors and achieves value co-creation.
The theoretical contributions in this paper are as follows: 1) it renders a value creation mechanism which is totally different from the traditional value creation. The traditional value creation theory portrays a process of creation value by vertical division of labor in an industry, while the platform ecosystem depicts the organizational form and linkage mechanism of value creation with multiple agents from various industries surrounding a core enterprise (the platform), which breaks the understanding of diversity and core competitiveness dominated by value chain theory; 2) it describes a mutual relationship among agents extremely different from relational network theory. The latter assumes that the focal agent which linking two other actors with direct relations have the advantages of information and control, and argues that the position in network decide one′s information, resources and power, therefore, the core enterprises have the advantages of information and control. However, in a platform ecosystem, it is the core enterprises that connects the supply and requisitioning parties. The linkage of the core to the peripheral accessing parties instead of weakening its advantages has increased its advantages and thus the competitiveness of the whole ecosystem.
The practical implications in this paper are as follows: 1)The ecosystem has advantages of surpassing the traditional growth mechanisms, and the architecture resources in the resources pool can generate platform mechanism; 2)the core enterprises in business startup incubation should provide all-dimensional architecture resources with high quality, and make effective use of external special resources; and 3)platform ecosystem have the internal mechanism of self-iteration and upgrading of resources.
Key words: platform, business ecosystem, business incubation, architecture resources, specialized resources