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”?



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© Journal of Chinese Political Science

Special Issue: China’s Cyberpower and its Impact

Maximilian Mayer & Josef Gregory Mahoney (Ed.)

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

Europes Strategic Technology Autonomy Sammelband.PNG

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

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

Ying Huang & Maximilian Mayer

Policy & Internet, 2022

Frontpage Publication

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

China’s Authoritarian Internet and Digital Orientalism

Maximilian Mayer

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

Frontpage Publication

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


Online conference

17. December 2017

Fourth AECAIR International Conference on Global Governance of Artificial Intelligence

The fourth AECAIR (Asia-Europe Consortium for AI Research) International Conference on Global Governance of Artificial Intelligence took place both in Shanghai and online on December 17th, 2021.

Online conference

17. – 18. September 2021

Online-Conference on Digital Fragmentations and Digital Sovereignty

Recently, there has been a steady global trend towards “digital sovereignty” and “data localization”. Tensions are therefore rising between the vision of an open, global Internet and state tendencies to invoke sovereignty in cyberspace. 


07. July 2021

China's Growing Data Power - Implications for Europe

With the rapid rise of Chinese Internet companies such as Tencent, ByteDance, Alibaba, and the resulting increase in technological competition, the collection and use of data is becoming an arena for geoeconomics and geopolitics. The question of which national strategies should be used to respond to this intensification is becoming increasingly important.

Online panel

June 2021

Comparative Analysis of Platform Governance in the US and China


8. December 2020

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

This workshop surveys 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. With the insights and expertise of our participants, we addresses how the United States and Germany (as well as the EU) can best manage these challenges while facing a China that increasingly aspires to leadership in global digital innovation and transforming digital governance to suit Beijing’s values and interests.

Online seminar

27. November 2020

Framing the Future of AI – Policy Dilemmas and Solutions

For some time now, China has been preparing to become a leading technology power. China has already made considerable progress in the field of artificial intelligence. In view of this, an exchange with China on design issues in artificial intelligence is essential. The new AECAIR network, which was founded by the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung together with German and Asian partners, provides a forum to strengthen exactly this exchange.

Online seminar

22. June – 06. July 2020

Innovation in Health Governance and AI - AECAIR online seminar series on experiences with AI-related technologies during the COVID-19 pandemic.

AECAIR partners used the COVID 19 situation as an opportunity to discuss, in a three-part online seminar series, what specific actions have been taken in different countries in Europe and Asia to address the pandemic with AI-related applications, and what lessons learned and approaches can be expected for dealing with AI in the future.


Associate Fellows

Avatar Huang

Dr. Ying Huang

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