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Utility Drives Adoption

Understanding Internet Accessibility in Rural China

Mingrui Ye

Utility Drives Adoption: Understanding Internet Accessibility in Rural China addresses the deep digital divide in China by exploring the reasons behind the lagging adoption of the internet in rural communities. With a four-year study and in-depth investigation into a number of rural communities across China, author Mingrui Ye unfolds a picture of internet use in rural villages and answers the questions why and in what scenario rural residents will or will not adopt internet-based digital devices like laptops or tablets.

Additionally, this book contributes to diffusion theory with a newly established research model, by which new determinants responsible for internet adoption were discovered and mutual relations between influential factors at different levels revealed. A series of solutions to improve the adoption rate of the internet in rural China are suggested for implementation at multiple levels. Utility Drives Adoption not only provides a deeper understanding of internet adoption in rural communities but also revisits the theory of innovation diffusion with newly developed perspectives and research models. This book serves as a useful guide for researchers and students in relevant fields to further explore internet utility and adoption in rural China.

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Chapter 2. To Be Bridged: Perspectives From Literature and Reality

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TO BE BRIDGED

Perspectives From Literature and Reality

Introduction

Although our research specifically focuses on the diffusion of the internet in rural China, it is necessary to understand the academic background of ICT development and to look at relevant studies for similarities in terms of the patterns and trajectories of ICT development. An ample number of studies have been conducted with various theories, models and methodologies over the past decades, revealing relationships between information technologies and human society, and factors influencing the diffusion of ICTs across diverse countries, societies and cultures. Instead of piecing a range of definitions and concepts together, this section attempts to take a lateral view on literature, to locate the position of our research and map out an approach that is socially, culturally and contextually suitable for gaining insights into internet diffusion in contemporary rural China.

Our research is preconditioned by the hypothesis that the internet, as a symbolic technology of human history, is disposed towards the good of human society and thus should be shared widely. The review presented here, therefore, begins with a body of work that justifies this technology and its unprecedented influence on the transformations occurring in this world; it then goes through ICT development in China with a series of implications for social changes ← 15 | 16 → and emerging issues produced by the so called informatization process. Further investigation focuses on the digital divide, one of the social...

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