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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.
About the Author
Yu Hong is an assistant professor in the School of Communication at USC Annenberg. She is the author of Labor, Class Formation, and China's Informationized Policy of Economic Development.
Table of Contents
Introduction: China, Crisis, and Communications 1
1 Driving Capitalism to Western China: IT and the Unwieldy Export-Processing Regime 14
2 Repurposing Telecoms for Capital: Networking and Inequality 35
3 Forging Broadband for the Commanding-Heights Economy: State-Business Relations in Networking 51
4 Making a Home-Base Strategy: 3G and 4G Mobile Communications and Industrial Policy 79
5 Recasting the Media System: Network Convergence and Digital TV 101
6 Building Network Nation: Domestic Thrusts and Global Impacts 123
Conclusion: Communications and China's Political Economy 147