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David Craig1, Wei Wang2, Stuart Cunningham3, Elaine J. Zhao4, Jian Lin5
1USC, United States of America; 2Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai, China; 3QUT, Brisbane, Australia; 4UNSW, Sydney, Australia; 5UVA, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Theories of platformization represent a recent turn in media and platform studies that reengages with political economic frameworks to consider how (corporate) digital platforms (e.g. Google, Facebook, Airbnb, Taobao, etc.) have penetrated the heart of societies, disrupting the existing market and labor relations and transforming social and cultural practices (Helmond 2015; van Doorn 2017; van Dijck et al 2018). However, as Lobato and Wang (2019) argue, it is time to reevaluate the degree to which implicit western-centrism in media and social media studies theory and frameworks may have inhibited a fuller understanding of Chinese strategy and achievement in the platformization of audiovisual production and distribution. These papers engage with the framework of platformization across complimentary perspectives to consider the distinctive technoeconomic and cultural affordances of Chinese platforms, including the integration of ecommerce and online payments systems that have shaped interactions between formal and informal markets, and accelerated new forms and remuneration across a suite of business models for social entrepreneurialism. These advances service the explicit goals of the state in the transition towards a consumer-based, digital economy and reflect how the Chinese platform economy features a vibrant ecology in which the entanglement of the state power, market forces and digital technologies mobilizes diverse social subjects to become the new ‘creative class’, or, more popularly termed, ‘wang hong’. Alternatively, the economic aims of the Chinese state are imperiled by the ability of platforms to foster uninhibited content and threaten cultural hegemony.