China's ICT industry and East Asian regional production networks

Wu, Xiangning (2011). China's ICT industry and East Asian regional production networks. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.


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This thesis discusses the impact of China’s putative rise in East Asian regional production networks (EARPN) with regard to the ICT industry. Many research studies have focused on China’s strengthening military and political power or are devoted to China’s astounding economic achievements vis-à-vis Japan’s recession in the world economy. The tone of much of this literature since the 1990s has been to highlight the ‘danger of the rising China’. However, there is a gap in the scholarly literature regarding the impact of a rising China on EARPNs with regard to the ICT industry. Changes in this industry mark the latest industrial revolution, and the industry itself is characterized by rapid changes and powerful influences in every aspect of the economy. This thesis will analyse the impact China brings to EARPNs because of its rapidly developing ICT industry. To be more specific, it will show to what extent changes in China’s ICT industry (re-)shape existing regional production networks (RPNs) in East Asia, which for a long time saw Japan as the key actor. Moreover, this thesis will also demonstrate whether a revised flying geese paradigm can be applied to EARPNs in terms of the ICT sector. This thesis applies a revised flying geese model to evaluate the impact of the Chinese government’s regional intentions and the Chinese ICT enterprises’ behaviour overseas in EARPNs. Based on a number of cases, this work shows that the rise of China with regard to its ICT industry is establishing China’s position as a regional leader in EARPNs. China’s significant roles both in the region and in the world are even more prominent, which has contributed to directly shaking the role of Japan as the leading goose of the EARPNs. This thesis argues that the essence of the process of catching-up and the characteristics of a dynamic hierarchical division of labour in the EARPNs have not changed simply because of the developments in China with regard to the ICT industry. However, contrary to expectation, this thesis shows that it is too early to conclude that the dynamic hierarchical division of labour has changed, and to see China replace the previous leading goose, either in terms of large amounts of FDI or in terms of capabilities of continuously providing advanced technology. The very complicated international and regional relations that China is pursuing also influence China’s ability to reshape EARPNs. In short, China has not yet become the leader of EARPNs.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Social Sciences
School or Department: Department of Political Science and International Studies
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: T Technology > T Technology (General)
H Social Sciences > HF Commerce
J Political Science > JQ Political institutions Asia


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