Development of a business-to-business critical success factors (B2B CSFs) framework for Chinese SMEs

Woon Kian Chong, Mathew Shafaghi, Boon Leing Tan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to critically explore business-to-business critical success factors (B2B CSFs) for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) operating in the Chinese B2B marketplace, evaluate the findings, and use the generated CSFs to propose a framework to assist in the marketing management of B2B in China. The proposed framework provides a guideline for academics and practitioners and highlights the significant role of each factor in developing and sustaining effective B2B electronic commerce (B2B e-commerce) practice for SMEs. Design/methodology/approach: The proposed framework is constructed by combining the empirical findings and B2B literature. The quantitative (online survey) was targeted at, proprietors, chief executive officers, managing directors, general managers, sales/marketing managers and export managers in selected SMEs that participated in B2B electronic marketplace (B2B e-marketplace) in China. The data received from the recipients were processed on SPSS to conduct factor analysis to identify whether a factor structure underlies the correlations between a number of variables. Findings: The findings are indicative of two sets of internal and external critical factors, including: successful customer relationships, supply chain facilities, global competition, information system/information technology (IS/IT) infrastructure and performances, information visibility, top management support and commitment, government encouragement and commitment, security and trust, and cultural consideration. Practical implications: SME managers can derive a better understanding and measurement of marketing activities that appropriately balance between traditional and B2B e-commerce practice. At the same time, the CSF can be integrated into the companies to determine the level of marketing performance in B2B e-marketplace. Originality/value: The paper's findings provide new theoretical grounds for research into B2B relationships in the digital business environment. The paper also provides an empirical assessment of the essential components in B2B e-commerce adaptation, and implications for the means to prioritize CSF.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)517-533
Number of pages17
JournalMarketing Intelligence and Planning
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2011


  • B2B e-Commerce
  • China
  • Critical success factors
  • Internet
  • Small to medium-sized enterprises


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