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Networking ChinaThe Digital Transformation of the Chinese Economy$
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Yu Hong

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780252040917

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252040917.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM ILLINOIS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.illinois.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Illinois University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ISO for personal use.date: 28 September 2021

Repurposing Telecoms for Capital

Repurposing Telecoms for Capital

Networking and Inequality

(p.35) Chapter 2 Repurposing Telecoms for Capital
Networking China

Yu Hong

University of Illinois Press

Chapter 2 historicizes telecom development between 1978 and 2005 and explores how the purpose of telecom development—to serve the export-processing regime and to become an accumulation platform in itself—has strengthened social inequalities, including in telecommunications. This chapter first examines telecommunications’ radical reorganization intended to support the coastal export-processing regime at the beginning of the market reform. Then, it examines the local mechanism of rural telephone development in the late 1980s and 1990s. Lastly, it examines the corporate reforms that began in the late 1990s and continued into the twenty-first century, exploring how market forces, new technology, and the state’s attempts at harnessing market forces for social purposes have jointly made telecom networks a platform for corporate accumulation—and genesis of the networked economy.

Keywords:   outward-looking economy, neoliberal telecom reforms, corporatization, liberalization, public telephone networks, urban telephone, rural telephone, regional digital divide, universal service, Chinese telecom operators

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