The Digital Transformation of the Chinese Economy
A political economy of China's new digital capitalism
In recent years, China’s leaders have taken decisive action to transform information, communications, and technology (ICT) into the nation's next pillar industry. In Networking China, Yu Hong offers an overdue examination of that burgeoning sector's political economy.
Hong focuses on how the state, in conjunction with market forces and class interests, is constructing and realigning its digitalized sector. State planners intend to build a more competitive ICT sector by modernizing the network infrastructure, corporatizing media-and-entertainment institutions, and by using ICT as a crosscutting catalyst for innovation, industrial modernization, and export upgrades. The goal: to end China's industrial and technological dependence upon foreign corporations while transforming itself into a global ICT leader. The project, though bright with possibilities, unleashes implications rife with contradiction and surprise. Hong analyzes the central role of information, communications, and culture in Chinese-style capitalism. She also argues that the state and elites have failed to challenge entrenched interests or redistribute power and resources, as promised. Instead, they prioritize information, communications, and culture as technological fixes to make pragmatic tradeoffs between economic growth and social justice.
"In great detail and with the careful reflection of a seasoned scholar, Yu Hong describes the astounding growth of digital technology in China and its complex and powerful ramifications at home and abroad."--Vincent Mosco, author of To the Cloud: Big Data in a Turbulent World
"Yu Hong's book is a must-read for anyone seeking to understand the role China's cutting-edge information technology sector has played in the nation's unprecedentedly rapid economic development. She provides excellent insight into the nuances of state policies on key communications systems, and does so with a keen, discerning eye for the vital issues affecting the present and future course of China's networked economy."--Eric Harwit, author of China's Telecommunications Revolution
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