Perceived characteristics, perceived needs, and perceived popularity : Adoption and use of the internet in China

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journal

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)466-495+496
Journal / PublicationCommunication Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2002


The Internet has arrived in China, the most populous nation in the world, at a rapid rate. To account for the adoption and use of the Internet by Chinese audiences, the current study develops a theoretical framework that centers on three key independent variables in the diffusion process: perceptions (i.e., perceived characteristics of the Internet or PCI), motivations (perceived need for the Internet or PNI), and social context (perceived popularity of the Internet or PPI). In addition, adoption is conceptualized as involving four categories that are mutually exclusive at a given time but interchangeable over time. This classification enables investigation of discontinuance. The current study also examines reinvention by integrating use into diffusion process. Data from a probability survey of 2,500 residents in Beijing and Guangzhou in 2000 largely support the hypotheses of the model. The study illustrates the importance and benefits of a theory-driven approach to new media research.