New developments of ecosystems in the age of digital economy

Published 08 April, 2022


Driven collectively by industry 4.0 and digitalisation, the concept of ecosystems, which describes communities of co-evolving and interdependent players organised around shared goals, has strongly resonated with scholars, practitioners and policymakers in recent years. It has drawn scholars from a wide array of domains, such as strategy, innovation and entrepreneurship, information systems and international business. And the ecosystem construct has proved to be effective for a variety of analyses, including those related to complex interactions between firms, across industries and within regions. However, more attention needs to be paid to the impact of digitalisation on ecosystems and platforms to help build a more nuanced understanding of the implications.

Topics covered:

  • Digital technologies, digital platforms and digital ecosystems
  • Ecosystem strategy amidst digitalisation
  • Regional entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystems in the digital age
  • Industrial upgrading and digital transformation for regional industrial ecosystems
  • Cross-border ecosystem governance for multi-nationalcompanies (MNCs)

Important deadlines:

  • Submission deadline: rolling submission
  • Accepted manuscripts will first be published in a regular issue, and will then be included in an article collection once the required number of articles has been reached.

Submission instructions:

Please read the Guide for Authors before submitting. All articles should be submitted online; please select Development of ecosystems on submission.

Guest Editors:

  • Xianwei Shi, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China.
  • Hong Hou, Peking University, China.
  • Xingkun Liang, Peking University, China.
  • Yuankun Luo, Southern University of Science and Technology, China.
  • Yining Luo, Cambridge University, UK.
  • Ke Rong, Tsinghua University, China.

Virtual Special Issue (VSI) Introduction:

Virtual Special Issues (VSI) is an online grouping of Special Issue articles traditionally assigned to a single Special Issue. Each article in a VSI is assigned a unique identifier and then published in a regular journal issue as soon as available. On ScienceDirect, a VSI is listed alongside regular journal issues and is easily accessible and navigable. A VSI homepage includes a Guest Editor listing, table of contents and other data relevant to the VSI. A VSI speeds up the publication of individual articles as, unlike the publication process for conventional Special Issue articles, a VSI does not need to wait for the final article to be ready before publication.

Guest Editors:

  • Xianwei Shi (Shanghai Jiao Tong University)

Xianwei Shi ( is an Assistant Professor of Management and Organizations at the Antai College of Economics and Management, Shanghai Jiao Tong University. He received his PhD and MPhil from the University of Cambridge and Bachelor’s degree from Tsinghua University. Xianwei mainly employs qualitative methods to explore issues in innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystems. His work has been funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China, and has appeared in leading journals such as Research Policy, Management and Organization Review, and Small Business Economics, among others.

  • Xingkun Liang (Peking University)

Xingkun Liang ( is an assistant professor at Department of Information Management, Peking University. He obtained his PhD degree from Cambridge University. His research interests include innovation ecosystem, digital transformation and theory and methodology of library and information science. He has intensively involved in national and international research porjects, including National Key Research and Development Program of China. He published in national and international leading journals in innovation studies and library and information sciences. His research has been widely recogized with best paper awards from academic communities, Springer Nature's Research Highlights from China, and implications for policies makers in Ministry of Science and Technolgy and Ministry of Culture and Tour, of China.

  • Hong Hou (Peking University)

Hong Hou ( is an assistant professor in management at National Development School, Peking University. He obtained his PhD degree from Cambridge University. Between 2007 and 2017, he worked in China as a strategy consultant, strategy manager, strategy director, and CEO's strategy assistant for several high-tech companies.  On the academic side, his area is the firm growth strategy driven by business ecosystem evolution and business model innovation. He is the best paper award winner at World Open Innovation Conference 2020. He also advises several Chinese companies such as China Mobile.

  • Yuankun Luo (Southern University of Science and Technology)

Yuankun Luo ( is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Information Systems and Management Engineering, Southern University of Science and Technology. He obtained his PhD degree from the University of Cambridge and Bachelor’s degree from University College London. His research interest lies in industrial upgrading and regional industrial ecosystem, especially to investigate regional growth from complex industrial phenomena in the digital era. Yuankun is recognised as Overseas High-Level Talent (Level C) in Shenzhen.

  • Yining Luo (Cambridge University)

Yining Luo ( is a PhD researcher at the Institute for Manufacturing (IfM) of the University of Cambridge. Before joining the Centre for International Manufacturing Group of the IfM, she obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from Tsinghua University. Her research explores innovation and strategy in nascent industries and digital economy such as cloud computing industry, big data industry, smart city industry, and sharing economy. Her current research interest lies in industry emergence, business/innovation ecosystem, and digital innovation.

  • Ke Rong (Tsinghua University)

Professor Ke Rong ( is currently the Deputy Director at the Institute of Economics, at the Tsinghua University in China. His current research interests focus on Business/Innovation Ecosystems, Digital Economy, and Data Ecosystems. He has published over 60 refereed articles in worldwide leading journals. He has been the principal investigator of several research projects sponsored by the National Science Foundation of China and the British Academy, along with leading firms such as Huawei, Bytedance, Haier, Tencent and China Mobile. He has received several awards for his academic work, including being elected as a Distinguished Young Scholar under the elite ‘Changjiang Scholars Programme’ of China’s Minister of Education, and the Highly Cited Chinese Researchers from Elsevier. He also serves as the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Digital Economy, and as a member of the Expert Network of World Economic Forum.

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