Internet finance is a kind of financial mode that relies on Internet tools to realize financing and information exchange [1
]. Traditional financial modes are mainly indirect financing represented by commercial bank and direct financing represented by investment banks. However, as a combination of Internet tools and finance, Internet finance is quite different from the traditional financial modes. On the one hand, modern information technologies, especially mobile payment, search engines and cloud computing, have a fundamental impact on human financial behavior. On the other hand, the allocation of financial resources is being changed by Internet finance [2
]. Internet finance has greatly reshaped existing financial systems, such as commercial banks [3
], capital market [4
] and financial regulation [5
]. At the same time, due to the diversification of information technologies and financial needs, Internet finance has given birth to many specific financial modes. Luo defined six Internet finance modes, namely third-party payment, peer to peer lending (P2P lending), big data finance, crowdfunding, information-based financial institution and Internet financial portal [6
]. However, the inherent spirit of the Internet such as openness, equality and sharing constantly impacts the rigorous operation mode of finance. And Internet finance is constantly being combined with emerging technologies to form various new modes. Thus, it is necessary to keep a close eye on the development of the Internet finance modes, which is also important to financial supervision and macro-control [1
Early summary research on Internet finance mainly focused on Internet banking. Hanafizadeh et al. analyzed the adoption of Internet Bank from the perspective of information technology, finance, marketing and service management [7
]. After that, the summary research on Internet finance began to diversify. Martinez-Climent et al. analyzed literature related to crowdfunding [8
]. Huang and Zhao studied the impact of crowdfunding on financial regulation [9
]. Agarwal et al. reviewed the researches concerned with the influence of network information on financial market [10
]. Cai discussed the impact of crowdfunding and blockchain on traditional financial intermediation [11
]. Milian et al. examined key themes and trends in fintech [12
]. It can be seen that most of the existing summary studies focused on one specific mode of Internet finance. Few papers simultaneously examine various modes of Internet finance, which is insufficient for a comprehensive understanding of the development of Internet finance.
Since research fronts in a given field refer to the body of studies that scientists actively cite in the field [13
], we used CiteSpace, a citation visualization analysis software, to analyze literature of Internet finance to detect the emerging trends and innovation modes. We used the co-word network to detect various modes generated in the development process of Internet finance. Six main modes are recognized, that is, Internet bank, P2P lending, crowdfunding, big data finance, digital currency and fintech. Then, through the generated co-citation network, we analyzed the main research topics and duration of each mode and the latest research hotspots.
This paper is arranged as follows—firstly, materials and methods are introduced in Section 2
, co-word analysis is carried out in Section 3
and co-citation analysis is presented in Section 4
. In Section 5
, we summarize our conclusions and put forward some suggestions for future research.
Internet finance has increasingly penetrated into our lives, bringing changes in the allocation of financial resources and human financial behavior. With the development of Internet technology and the diversity of financial needs, various new modes of Internet finance appear. Hence, it is important to understand the various modes generated in the development process of Internet finance and main research topics and duration of each mode of them. Different from the existing summary studies, which focused on one specific mode of Internet finance [7
], we used bibliometrics to simultaneously examine various modes of Internet finance. First, we carried out a co-word analysis of the literature, which showed the main modes of Internet finance. Six main modes were recognized, that was, Internet bank, P2P lending, crowdfunding, big data finance, digital currency and fintech. And Emerging research topics and the development history of each mode were also detected through the co-citation network. Additionally, the mainstream modes in current research were also identified.