Analyzing China’s Digital Ambitions

On June 13, 2022, the Washington State China Relations Fund and the National Bureau of Asian Research (NBR) partnered to present a discussion of China’s digital strategy and the security implications of China’s growing digital influence.

NBR recently released a new report entitled China’s Digital Ambitions: A Global Strategy to Supplant the Liberal Order. The report argues China has diagnosed that the emergence of data as a factor of production is catalyzing a new industrial revolution, which Chinese policymakers view as a competitive opportunity to leapfrog to leadership of the international system. It analyzes how they move from this diagnosis to the implementation of a comprehensive global strategy seeking to increase China’s control of and influence over the global digital environment. This strategy seeks to replace the current liberal and decentralized digital architecture with a China-dominated, state-centric one that will create the foundation for a new type of geopolitical power and enhance China’s global influence.


Nigel Cory, Associate Director, the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation

Doug Strub, Assistant Director, Center for Innovation, Trade, and Strategy, NBR

Alison Szalwinski, Vice President of Research, NBR


Nor Coquillard, Executive Director, Washington State China Relations Council

Nigel Cory is Associate Director at the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation. His work focuses on cross-border data flows, data governance, intellectual property, and how they each relate to digital trade and the broader digital economy. He has provided in-person testimony and written submissions and has published reports and op-eds relating to these issues in the United States, the European Union, Australia, China, India, and New Zealand, among other countries and regions, and has completed research projects for international bodies such as the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation and the World Trade Organization. He previously worked for eight years in Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Doug Strub is Assistant Director, Center for Innovation, Trade, and Strategy, at the National Bureau of Asian Research (NBR). He manages and supports research on projects focusing on Asian economic, trade, innovation, and intellectual property policy issues, with a focus on China. Prior to joining NBR, he spent five years in China working for the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai, writing reports for the World Bank in Beijing, and studying Mandarin in Guilin and Wuhan.

Alison Szalwinski is Vice President of Research at the National Bureau of Asian Research (NBR). She provides executive leadership to NBR’s policy research agenda and oversees research teams in Seattle and Washington, D.C. She is the author of numerous articles and reports and co-editor of the Strategic Asia series along with Ashley J. Tellis and Michael Wills, including the most recent volumes, Strategic Asia 2020: U.S.-China Competition for Global Influence (2020), Strategic Asia 2019: China’s Expanding Strategic Ambitions (2019), and Strategic Asia 2017–18: Power, Ideas, and Military Strategy in the Asia-Pacific (2017).

Prior to joining NBR, she spent time at the U.S. Department of State and the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Her research interests include U.S. alliance relationships, U.S.-China relations, and the implications of great-power competition for U.S. alliances in the region.

Nor Coquillard oversees the activities of the Council as well as the Washington State China Relations Fund. He spent 35 years living and working in Asia. During his 18 years in Shanghai, Nor served as the Country President for Cargill Incorporated’s China businesses, and as the Chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai in 2008 and 2009. During his time in China, Nor provided leadership to several of international non-profit organizations as well as CEO leadership groups.