All Abstracts > Regulating Chinese and North American digital media in Australia
Regulating Chinese and North American digital media in Australia
Author | Affiliation:
Chunmeizi Su | Queensland University of Technology
Researchers have shown that digital platforms like Google, Facebook, Amazon and Alibaba are becoming increasingly central to our economy (Srnicek, 2017; Plantin & Punathambekar, 2019; Nooren et al., 2018). These companies are disrupting social, cultural and economic routines on a global scale, via interconnected services known as ‘network effects’ and economies of scale (Feld, 2019). They operate in different political systems and territories, challenging policymakers and regulators alike (Rossotto et al., 2018). As such, traditional regulatory approaches need to be improved to adapt to these challenges.
These digital platforms are being regulated in different parts of the world. As a result, researchers have focused on political systems and pertinent policies as all digital services should operate under the provisions of local laws (Rossotto et al., 2018). For US-based platforms, this means working out how to operate in democratic or non-democratic systems. Companies like Facebook and Google have struggled with this for some time. However, Chinese-based platforms are only starting to deal with the transnational use of their products.
The paper approaches this question by examining how digital platforms of China and North America are being regulated in Australia. While Facebook and Google have been a regular feature in the Australian market for some time, China is only now becoming a major player in the Australian market. Meanwhile, Australia is also a major international market for Chinese digital platforms. For instance, Australia is the third largest international market for Alibaba, following Russia and South East Asia (The Bull, 2019); and Wechat (the primary service of Tencent) is attracting more and more non-Chinese speaking users, even Australian politicians (Hollingsworth, 2019). Considering the unexpected emergence of Chinese digital services, what threats and challenges are facing Australia? Based on comparative studies, this paper will examine how state power (regulatory bodies and legislation) and self-regulation (such as algorithms, trade of data, management of online spaces) is enacted in Chinese and North American platforms in the Australian context.
About the author
Dr. Chunmeizi Su is a PhD graduate of the School of Communication in the Creative Industries Faculty at the Queensland University of Technology. Her research interests are mainly focused on digital media, Chinese internet companies (Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent), screen industry studies, and cultural soft power. Her thesis was on internet-distributed television in China. She is currently working as a research assistant at the University of Sydney.