Global market access in the Internet era: South Africa's wood furniture industry

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The importance of global connectivity for Third World producers has recently come under intense academic scrutiny in the value chain literature in development studies. However, global value chain analysis seldom mentions the importance of the Internet in facilitating and enhancing the access of Third World manufacturers to developed country markets. This paper attempts to bridge this gap in the literature by exploring the link between Internet connectivity and access to global markets, and uses the South African wood furniture sector as a case study. E‐commerce technologies are becoming increasingly important for South African wood furniture producers as they are integrated into global value chains and exposed to the demands of more sophisticated markets. Failure to adopt e‐commerce technologies on the part of wood furniture producers could lead to them becoming increasingly marginalized from the international markets that they wish to supply. The paper articulates a number of policy recommendations to promote greater diffusion of e‐commerce technologies in the wood furniture sector.