Drawn from extensive document analysis and interviews with stakeholders, this socio-technical study examines the shaping powers of the subsystems (technology, policy/government, and market/industry) of China Multimedia Mobile Broadcasting (CMMB). After the Beijing Olympics, the first commercialized mobile TV expanded its infrastructure and business operations faster than other 3G and mobile TV broadcasting, covering 346 cities by November 2010. The findings show that CMMB, which is the leader in Chinese mobile TV development, is policy/government-driven and technologically ready. However, multiple technological standards and discrepancies between regulatory bodies slowed down its initial rollout. In the market/industry subsystem, content/services scarcity, undesirable pricing schemes, and low brand awareness are the inhibitors that curbed CMMB's diffusion. However, its strategic collaboration with China Mobile allowed it to quickly increase its user base and sale of CMMB-enabled handsets. Moreover, the socio-technical approach is a useful framework to investigate the forces that shape emerging technological trajectory holistically.
Chinese Journal of Communication, Vol.5, No.1, pp.88-108