Beyond Virtual Bazaar: How Social Commerce Promotes Inclusivity for the Traditionally Underserved Community in Chinese Developing Regions

Zhilong Chen*, Hancheng Cao*, Xiaochong Lan, Zhicong Lu, Yong Li
ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, 2022
The disadvantaged population is often underserved and marginalized in technology engagement: prior works show they are generally more reluctant and experience more barriers in adopting and engaging with mainstream technology. Here, we contribute to the HCI4D and ICTD literature through a novel "counter" case study on Chinese social commerce (e.g., Pinduoduo), which 1) first prospers among the traditionally underserved community from developing regions ahead of the more technologically advantaged communities, and 2) has been heavily engaged by this community. Through 12 in-depth interviews with social commerce users from the traditionally underserved community in Chinese developing regions, we demonstrate how social commerce, acting as a "virtual bazaar", brings online the traditional offline socioeconomic lives the community has lived for ages, fits into the community's social, cultural, and economic context, and thus effectively promotes technology inclusivity. Our work provides novel insights and implications for building inclusive technology for the "next billion" population.