Book Talk: High Wire: How China Regulates Big Tech and Governs Its Economy by Angela Huyue Zhang

April 9, 2024

Presented in collaboration with the Center for Asian Law as part of Tech & Society Week 2024.

Join the Institute for Technology Law & Policy and Georgetown Law’s Center for Asian Law for a discussion with Angela Zhang, Associate Professor of Law at the University of Hong Kong, Director of the Philip K. H. Wong Center for Chinese Law, and the author of High Wire: How China Regulates Big Tech and Governs Its Economy. Register here.

In High Wire, Zhang provides a comprehensive and sophisticated overview of how China regulates its enormous tech sector. By closely scrutinizing the incentives and interactions among the key players, Zhang introduces a dynamic pyramid model to analyze the structure, process, and outcome of China’s unique regulatory system. She showcases the shrewd self-regulatory tactics employed by Chinese tech titans to survive and thrive in an institutional environment plagued by endemic fraud and corruption. She also reveals how the Chinese State has given a helping hand to digital platforms by offering them indispensable judicial support.

Through a robust analysis of the tumultuous 2020-2022 tech crackdown, Zhang explores the model’s profound impact on three vital pillars of Chinese platform regulation, including antitrust, data, and labor enforcement. As Zhang demonstrates, the tech crackdown has led to the private sector’s retreat and the state’s advancement in the tech industry. These regulatory shifts have also steered investors from consumer tech businesses toward hardcore technologies that are essential for China’s bid to overtake the United States in innovation.

More than just a study of China, Zhang offers a global perspective by comparing China’s regulatory landscape with rapidly moving developments in the United States and the European Union. This comparative analysis reveals the shared regulatory challenges all face and sheds light on the future direction of Chinese tech regulation. Finally, she peers into the future of China’s tech governance, specifically focusing on the burgeoning realm of generative artificial intelligence.

Providing an unparalleled deep dive into China’s rapidly evolving digital economy, High Wire is a must-read for those interested in the manifold ways in which China regulates and governs its economy.

The book talk will take place on Georgetown’s Capitol Campus on Tuesday, April 9, 2024 from 12:00–1:30 pm. Food and refreshments will be served. Register for the free event here.