Digital platforms: exerting China’s new cultural power in the Asia-Pacific
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The ascension to power of Xi Jinping in 2012 marks a significant moment in regard to Chinese perceptions of the nation’s role in history and the role China might play in world affairs during the coming decade. The term “cultural confidence” (wenhua zixin) increasingly animates discussion about how Chinese media industries are extending their reach beyond the mainland. In this special section, the authors investigate the ramifications of a more culturally confident Chinese nation, emboldened by the technological ascendency of its digital champions, represented by Baidu, Alibaba, and Tencent—often referred to collectively as BAT. These privately owned internet communication companies are reaching out to foreign audiences while reconnecting culturally with the Chinese diaspora. The question that comes to the forefront of China’s newfound “cultural power” is, “How far and with what effect are China’s online media companies internationalizing?” The special section looks at the Asia-Pacific, noting how these digital media companies are diversifying and consolidating in Taiwan and Hong Kong SAR, as well as in Southeast Asia—Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea, and Thailand.
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