Séverine Arsène, « HONG, Yu. 2017. Networking China: The Digital Transformation of the Chinese Economy. Urbana, Chicago and Springfield: University of Illinois Press. », China Perspectives, 2019-2 | 2019, 89-90.
Yu Hong’s book, Networking China, takes a clear stand in critiquing capitalism, detailing contradictions spawned by China’s immersion in globalised production relations. New information technologies have been the “epicentre” of the economic and political transformations of the last 30 years. Hence, it is through the development of infrastructures and digital services since the 1980s that the author gauges these contradictions.
Each chapter considers a specific technological stratum, covering the same periods under different gazes: installation of telecommunication networks, then broadband networks, mobile networks, audio-visual and network convergence, and finally digital. The book draws upon sources from specialised Chinese media, official reports, and statistics, making for a dense and well-documented text that however risks losing the reader in details and chronology. The conclusions at each chapter’s end help better understand the author’s overall argument.