University of Leicester
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Digital Beijing: A Case Study of China's Developing Information Economy

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posted on 2012-03-16, 16:37 authored by Jin Shang
Information and Communication Technology (ICT) has profoundly influenced social transformation today, of which economic transformation, including related urban spatial restructuring, has become a key feature. This research aims to examine the policymaking and implementation processes in order to investigate the political initiatives of China’s developing information economy. Beijing has been taken as a specific case study to look in depth at the development processes. The research focuses on ‘government’ and ‘enterprise’ as the two major agents playing strategic roles in driving China’s information economy development. In the research study, Manuel Castells’ two theoretical approaches, namely ‘informational economy’ and ‘space of flows’, are adopted as the theoretical framework, because they are most relevant to China’s distinctive national situation. For the research work, three questions are addressed. 1). what kind of information economy is being supported in China and why? 2). how and how well is the information economy developed in Beijing? 3). what are the major problems and difficulties challenging this development?’ In my fieldwork, documentary analysis and in-depth qualitative interviewing are adopted as the two research methods. The research found that owing to China’s incomplete industrialization, the Chinese government has created a new way to promote China’s information economy called ‘neo-industrialization’ path. This means that through promoting the use and development of ICTs, the processes of informatization and industrialization can be integrated into one process, so that a 'leap-forward' of the national economy will be realized. In the process, the city of Beijing has been experiencing an unprecedented spatial restructuring, through which it is believed that the capital city of China is becoming a more functionalized ‘digital city’ in the 21st century.



Youngs, Gillian; Dickinson, Roger

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University of Leicester

Qualification level

  • Doctoral

Qualification name

  • PhD



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