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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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It is first and foremost important to acknowledge and thank all the participants, especially those who are earning their living in the far remote lands of China. This thesis would be impossible without their generous contributions. Many thanks to my friend Deng Yan and her families, my mate Li Wei, as well as Bi Xinye and his parents, for helping me land my research on the three sample sites and making the field work went smoothly.

Deep gratitude is sent to my lifelong mentor Professor Kerry Philip Green, for his wisdom, guidance, encouragements, considerateness and patience throughout these years and beyond; and to Kerry’s family, Trish and Candice, every single moment spent with this loving family is cherished. Sincere thanks also to Dr Jackie Cook, for her academic guidance, knowledge and valuable advice on my research.

Appreciation also goes to Professor Gao Xiaohong and Professor Hu Zhifeng, for their persistent trust and selfless support. Thanks to Chinese Scholarship Council and my home university Communication University of China for their sponsorship in this research.

I am very grateful to Dr Maggie Ying Jiang and her husband Michael Yijun Wang, Dr Robert Bloomfield, Dr Huang Jing, and my fellows, Dr. Wu Minghua, Dr. Zhang Weimin and Dr. Han Shurong, who offered many valuable ← xiii | xiv → ideas and different voices on my study. Thanks to Ken and Cathy, whose loyal friendship gave me family-like support at times in Adelaide, and to Phyllis Lines, for upholding...

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