Welcome to the Digital China: From Cultural Presence To Innovative Nation, 2017-2019 Australian Research Council Discovery Project

While China claims to have the world’s oldest continuous civilisation, its economic influence on the global stage far exceeds its cultural cachet (aka soft power), much to the consternation of government officials and millions of patriotic citizens on the mainland. Millions of people living outside the mainland of Chinese heritage are equally patriotic, identifying with the much heralded national ‘rejuvenation’, known as the Chinese Dream. Over the past decade the government has assisted Chinese culture to go global. Despite this assistance, global consumption of culture remains dominated by powerful Western transnational companies, by western stories and by Hollywood studios.

Enter China’s digital platforms. Can commercial internet and technology companies succeed in this national quest for rejuvenation and recognition as an innovative nation? With the unveiling in 2015 of a policy blueprint called Internet+, companies like BaiduAlibabaTencent and Wandawere given a new license to internationalise, and potentially more freedom to work with foreign partners. How are these new relationships reshaping the global media industries and their digital presence?


Michael Keane (Curtin University)

Brian Yecies (University of Wollongong)

Haiqing Yu (RMIT University)

Susan Leong (Curtin University)

Elaine Zhao (University of New South Wales)

Chief Investigators

Michael Keane

Michael Keane is Research Professor of Chinese Media in the Department of Internet Studies in the School of Media, Culture and Creative Arts at Curtin University.

Brian Yecies

Brian Yecies is Professor in Communication and Media at the University of Wollongong. He researches and teaches on transnational film and digital media.

Haiqing Yu

Haiqing Yu is Associate Professor and Vice-Chancellor’s Principal Research Fellow in the School of Media and Communication, RMIT University. Haiqing’s research covers two broad areas: media and communication studies.

Elaine Zhao

Elaine Zhao is a Lecturer at the School of the Arts and Media, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at the University of New South Wales.

Susan Leong

Susan Leong is Senior Lecturer in Digital Media and Communication, School of Arts and Social Sciences, Monash University, Malaysia.

Partner Investigators

Anthony Fung

Prof Anthony Fung is the Director of the School of Journalism and Communication. He oversees the entire School’s research agenda and faculty profile.

Yahong Li

Yahong Li is an Associate Professor and Director of LLM Program in IP/IT at Faculty of Law of the University of Hong Kong.

JIN Yuanpu

JIN Yuanpu is professor and doctoral student supervisor of the School of Liberal Arts, Renmin University of China. He is also the director of Research Center for Cultural Creative Industries.

Research Assistants

Jie (Jack) Yang

Jie (Jack) Yang is the project's Big Data tech guru. He has extensive experience in machine learning and cloud computing. Jie completed his MA from Huazhong University of Science.

Huan (Jane) Wu

Huan Wu is a research assistant in the Digital China Lab at Curtin University. Her research interests include Digital Media and China's Ageing Population and the creative industries.

Weijie Huang

Weijie Huang is a Ph.D. Candidate at Faculty of Law of the University of Hong Kong. She received the 2017-2018 Fulbright-RGC Hong Kong Research Scholar Award.

Peter (Yong) Zhong is a research assistant in Communication and Media, School of the Arts, English and Media, Faculty of Law, Humanities and the Arts at the University of Wollongong.

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