National markets in a world of global platform giants: The persistence of Russian domestic competitors.
Kontareva, A., & Kenney, M.
Policy & Internet, 1-24
US platform companies have dominated the global platform economy. Drawing on archival research, interviews, and company reports, we explore the reasons that Russia was able to develop platform companies that survived the entry of US firms. The chaotic post-Soviet society paradoxically provided a sheltered environment within which domestic companies could build sufficient competence to maintain their domestic market position. As first movers, Russian companies created and leveraged within-country network effects based on social, cultural, and physical affinities with their user base. This made it difficult for US platforms to overwhelm domestic companies. After 2008, the Russian government's position regarding the internet changed, and it began to selectively shield domestic leaders by preventing acquisitions by foreign companies and requiring the preloading of domestic applications on devices. Our Russian case study is instructive for other countries that want to remain open but, at the same time, build domestic platform companies.