Community-Building Activities on China's Internet


Focusing on the Chinese social media apps WeChat and TikTok, each of which has more than one billion active users worldwide, research considers how globalization of these technologies is affecting social, political, and economic development outside of China’s borders. WeChat is currently striving to attract a global audience, with an aim of expanding its mobile payments system to developing nations. TikTok already has a significant presence in the US, as well as in India and many other countries. Research on the effects of this globalization process is based on archival and fieldwork study.

Recent publications

Hong, Yu, and Harwit, Eric (2020). China’s globalizing internet: history, power, and governance Chinese Journal of Communication. 13(1) [print version forthcoming].

Harwit, Eric (2019). China’s video app TikTok: A challenge to the U.S.? China-US Focus. 15 November.

Harwit, Eric (2019). China’s 5G progress and Implications for a global telecommunication divide China-US Focus. 22 March.

Harwit, Eric (2018). Warming Japan-China ties: Implications for American cars China-US Focus. 7 November.

Harwit, Eric (2018). Is 5G wireless technology the next field for Chinese dominance? China-US Focus, 4 April.

Harwit, Eric (2017). WeChat: Social and political development of China's dominant messaging app. Chinese Journal of Communication. 10(3): 312-27.

Harwit, Eric (2017). Tesla's China venture—will the company set a precedent in Shanghai? China-US Focus, 9 November.

Harwit, Eric (2017). Ford and Tesla's challenge to Trump in China. China-US Focus, 19 July.

Harwit, Eric (2017). ZTE's penalty: Repercussions of an American-imposed fine. China-US Focus, 24 May.

Harwit, Eric (2016). The Internet in China: Economic growth and bridging the digital divide. The World Financial Review, January-February.

Harwit, Eric (2014). Telecommunications in China. In Berkshire Essentials: The Internet in China: Cultural, political and social dimensions (1980s-2000s). Great Barrington, MA: Berkshire Publishing.

Harwit, Eric (2014). The rise and influence of Weibo (Microblogs) in China. Asian Survey. November-December: 1059-87.

Harwit, Eric (2013). Chinese and Japanese investment in Southeast and South Asia: Case studies of the automobile and electronics industries. Pacific Review, September: 361-83.

Harwit, Eric (2012). Comparative development of the mobile Internet in China and Japan. In Rodney Wai-chi Chu, Leopoldina Fortunati, Pui-Lam Law, and Shanhua Yang, eds., Mobile communication and greater China (pp. 80-95). London: Routledge.

Recent conference presentations

Harwit, Eric (2019). Globalization of China’s dominant social media app: Prospects for WeChat. American Political Science Association annual conference, 29 August, Washington, D.C.

Harwit, Eric (2018). The internationalization of China’s leading social media mobile app: Overseas expansion of China’s WeChat. Association of Asian Studies annual conference, 23 March, Washington, D.C.

Harwit, Eric (2016). New social media technologies and community mobilization in China: The growth and potential of WeChat. Association of Asian Studies annual conference, 2 April 2016, Seattle, Washington.

Harwit, Eric (2014). The growth and development of China’s smart phone services: A case study of WeChat. Association of Asian Studies annual conference, 29 March, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Harwit, Eric (2013). Issues in China’s economic relations with Japan. Keynote speech at Aichi University Conference on Contemporary China-Japan Relations, 9 November, Nagoya, Japan.

Harwit, Eric (2013). The rise and influence of microblogs in China. International Convention of Asian Scholars, 25 June, Macau, China.

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