Ecosystems research has theorized that overcoming economic and coopetitive challenges is crucial for ecosystem development, yet, they largely overlook the effects of sociopolitical challenges and interplays between economic, coopetitive, and sociopolitical challenges to the emergence and viability of ecosystems. By repositioning the sociopolitical challenges in the ecosystem development model, this study investigates how new focal ventures can develop ecosystem-specific strategies to recognize and overcome a combination of economic, coopetitive, and socio-political co-evolution challenges so as to ensure a viable ecosystem. Qualitative results from a multiple- case study of two surviving and two failed emerging bike-sharing ecosystems in China reveal three strategizing forms: (1) niche experimentation, which enables new focal ventures to obtain a more holistic understanding of the co-evolution challenges in economic and sociopolitical ecosystem environments; (2) strategic versatility, whereby ecosystem-specific strategies positively and simultaneously reinforce each other and collectively overcome the multiple co-evolution challenges in two ecosystem environments; and (3) strategic suboptimality, whereby new focal ventures sacrifice the short-term efficacy of specific strategies to reinforce the long-term effectiveness of related strategies to maintain ecosystem-level competitiveness. These findings indicate the nonlinear structural and intertemporal ecosystem dynamics that need to be considered in ecosystem development literature as well as by ecosystem practitioners.
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