China’s Digital Ambitions

The National Bureau of Asian Research’s China’s Digital Ambitions project aims to comprehensively analyze the PRC’s global digital strategy. The Chinese Communist Party has diagnosed that the emergence of data as a factor of production is catalyzing a new industrial revolution. This project finds that Chinese policymakers view this industrial revolution as a competitive opportunity to leapfrog to leadership of the international system, and have developed a comprehensive global strategy to increase China’s control of and influence over the global digital environment to achieve this objective. This strategy seeks to replace the liberal digital order with a China-dominated, illiberal one that will disrupt the existing global hierarchy and create the foundation for a new type of geopolitical power.

This project seeks to better understand how China seeks to leverage digital infrastructure, platforms, standards, and norms to advance its digital influence globally. It features a multi-author NBR Special Report entitled China’s Digital Ambitions: A Global Strategy to Supplant the Liberal Order, which is available in full in English. An executive brief is available in French, Japanese, and Korean. The project also features an interactive data tool that displays how China uses its digital influence to advance its illiberal ambitions, aggregates various measures of China’s digital influence across time and space, and presents novel datasets on elements of that influence.

Interactive Data Tool

The project also features an interactive data tool for visualizing the global reach of China’s digital ambitions and the relationships between different forms of Chinese digital influence: Access the data tool here.