Infrastructures of Data

China’s techno-political progress is particularly visible in the digital sector, where the success of Chinese platform companies raises attention and concerns alike. The international expansion of Huawei, ByteDance, Tencent, Alibaba, SenseTime and others prompts economic, geopolitical and ethical questions, most of which are discussed with reference to the global systemic competition. Conceptually, however, a further step is needed in order to characterize the dual nature of their global effects more systematically. How to understand the relationship between the contradictory dynamics of integration and fragmentation without winding up at digital orientalism? This project focuses on the influence of Chinese data infrastructures, such as the “Great Firewall” and “Digital Silk Road” on the changing Internet governance as a whole as well as on individual digital applications. How are states, societies and companies affected by flourishing practices of “data localization”, the development of new technological standards, and intensifying digital geopolitics? To what extent does the diffusion of Chinese governance discourses (e.g. “digital sovereignty”) not only shape the fragmented nature of data streams and product innovations, but also impact the connectivity created by technological globalization across both authoritarian and democratic political systems? What are the consequences and policy options from a European perspective? And could the strength of Chinese platform companies lead to China’s “digital hegemony”?


Avatar Huppenbauer

Nicolas Huppenbauer

Associate Fellows

Avatar Huang

Dr. Ying Huang


© SIRIUS – Zeitschrift für Strategische Analysen

Illusionen der Autonomie? Europas Position in den globalen digitalen Abhängigkeitsstrukturen

Maximilian Mayer & Yen-Chi Lu

 SIRIUS – Zeitschrift für Strategische Analysen, Vol. 7, No. 4, 2023

Global Media and China
© Global Media and China

Connectivity, centrality, and adaptation: The coproduction of political space in China’s standardization of autonomous driving technologies

Nicolas Huppenbauer

Global Media and China, Vol. 8/3 (2023)

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© Journal of Chinese Political Science

Special Issue: China’s Cyberpower and its Impact

Maximilian Mayer & Josef Gregory Mahoney (Eds.)

Journal of Chinese Political Science, Vol. 28, 1/2023.

Europes Strategic Technology Autonomy Sammelband.PNG
© Deutsche Gesellschaft für Auswärtige Politik

Assessing the Financial and Geoeconomic Implications of China’s Digital Currency

Maximilian Mayer & Amir Elalouf 

In: Tim Rühlig (ed.). Europe's Strategic Technology Autonomy from China. Assessing Foundational and Emerging Technologies. DGAP, 2023.

International Quarterly for Asian Studies
© International Quarterly for Asian Studies

Infrastructuring Cyberspace: Exploring China’s Imaginary and Practices of Selective Connectivity

Nicolas Huppenbauer, Ying Huang & Maximilian Mayer

International Quarterly for Asian Studies, Vol. 53, 3/2022.

Journal of International Studies 4-2022.jpeg
© The Journal of International Studies

Cyberspace Fragmentation from the Perspective of Technology Trends

Ying Huang

The Journal of International Studies, 4/2022. [Chinese only]

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Power in the Age of Datafication: Exploring China's Global Data Power

Ying Huang & Maximilian Mayer 

Journal of Chinese Political Science, 2022.


Europe has harldy recognized the consequences of its digital dependence

Yen-Chi Lu & Maximilian Mayer

Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung e.V., 2022.

Frontpage Publication
© Policy & Internet

Digital currencies, monetary sovereignty, and U.S.–China power competition

Ying Huang & Maximilian Mayer

Policy & Internet, 2022.

Frontpage Publication
© American Institute for Contemporary German Studies

Europe’s Digital Autonomy and Potentials of a U.S.-German Alignment toward China

Maximilian Mayer

American Institute for Contemporary German Studies (AICGS), 16. Dezember 2021.

Frontpage Publication
© Springer

China’s Authoritarian Internet and Digital Orientalism

Maximilian Mayer

In: Feldner D. (eds.) Redesigning Organizations. Springer, Cham, 2020.

Frontpage Publication
© South China Morning Post

Donald Trump’s campaign against Huawei is a symptom of digital orientalism, ignoring similarities in Chinese and Western surveillance

Josef Gregory Mahoney & Maximilian Mayer

South China Morning Post, 18. Januar 2020.

Frontpage Publication
© Center for Global Studies

Geopolitics and the Global Race for 5G

Xuewu Gu, Christiane Heidbrink, Ying Huang, Philip Nock, Hendrik W. Ohnesorge & Andrej Pustovitovskij

Center for Global Studies. CGS Global Focus, 2019.

Recorced Events

Standards und Staatskapitalismus – Chinas Rolle bei der Setzung internationaler Normen

Standards und Staatskapitalismus – Chinas Rolle bei der Setzung internationaler Normen

Geopolitik und Konnektivität: Chinas strategische Beziehungen mit der Nordatlantischen Region

Geopolitik und Konnektivität: Chinas strategische Beziehungen mit der Nordatlantischen Region


© Asia-Europe Consortium on AI Research

Fifth AECAIR International Conference: Artificial Intelligence Solutions in a Turbulent World

Online conference | 18 November 2022

The fifth AECAIR conference discussed subthemes such as “Smart Solutions for Systems in Transition” and “AI Solutions for Autonomous Mobility”.

© Asia-Europe Consortium on AI Research

Fourth AECAIR International Conference on Global Governance of Artificial Intelligence

Online conference | 17 December 2021

The fourth AECAIR conference discussed Sino-German AI cooperation prospects, AI landscapes in China and the EU, as well as the Realities and fictions of AI competition between China and the EU.

Infrastructures of Data
© Obi @pixel7propix/Unsplash

Online-Conference on Digital Fragmentations and Digital Sovereignty

Online conference | 17 & 18 September 2021

Tensions are rising between the vision of an open, global Internet and state tendencies to invoke sovereignty in cyberspace. This conference adressed this debate and advanced theorizations and conceptual understandings of digital sovereignty and fragmentations in cyberspace.

Infrastrukturen der chinesischen Moderne
© Road Trip with Raj/Unsplash

Chinas wachsende Datenmacht - Implikationen für Europa

Online panel | 07 July 2022

The event from the dialogue series "Understanding China's Modernity - European Reflections" focused on the concept of "data power" and took a close look at China's data policy with a special focus on its relevance for Franco-German and European strategic coordination.

Infrastructures of Data
© Obi @pixel7propix/Unsplash

Comparative Analysis of Platform Governance in the US and China

Online panel | 23 - 25 June 2021

The Internet Governance Project (IGP) at the Georgia Institute of Technology brought together scholars from China and the West to explore problems in platform governance.

Infrastructures of Data
© Obi @pixel7propix/Unsplash

China as Digital Superpower: An American-German Workshop on Digital Infrastructure and Digital Security

Workshop | 08 December 2020

This workshop surveyed top priorities and concerns in Berlin and Washington regarding digital challenges from China and how they are being translated into policy initiatives to rethink digital infrastructure and strengthen digital security on both sides of the Atlantic

© Asia-Europe Consortium on AI Research

Framing the Future of AI – Policy Dilemmas and Solutions

Online seminar | 27 November 2020

© Asia-Europe Consortium on AI Research

Innovation in Health Governance and AI – AECAIR-Seminarreihe zu Erfahrungen mit AI-bezogenen Technologien während der COVID-19-Pandemie

Online seminar series | 22 June – 06 July 2020

The partners of AECAIR (Asia-Europe Consortium on AI Research) took the COVID 19 situation as an opportunity to discuss in a three-part online seminar series the question of what concrete measures have been taken in various countries in Europe and Asia to counter the pandemic with AI-related applications and what experiences and approaches can be expected for dealing with AI in the future.

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