Telecommunications: Primacy of Power and Regulatory Battles for Promoting National Standards - Part 2

In other words, the Chinese government accepted neo-technonationalism instead of techno-nationalism to embrace global competition and open participation to foreign competitors. “Technonationalism” is a term to describe Japan and Korea through the 1980s. Techno-nationalist policies in these countries were designed to create independent domestic capabilities in core or critical technologies, supported by establishment of domestic institutions that encouraged the diffusion of these technological capabilities across sectors, and assisted producers and users of these technologies (Samuels, 1994). However, China began to integrate into the global economy in 1980s and 1990s when the world was moving towards economic globalization. As the biggest beneficiary of globalization, China is now a committed member of international economic institutions and an advocate of globalization. There are at least three reasons to think that dynamics for change in china's technology policy reflect distinctive Chinese advantages and concerns. First, China is bigger and more diverse than other developing countries, so it has the option of maintaining labor-intensive advantage and at the same time pursuing technology acquisition. Second, China is still in the process of reforming its economy and integrating into the global system. Since it joined the WTO in 2001, China has worked hard to transform its domestic standardization regime and make it more compatible with its WTO commitments. China's technology acquisition and domestic standard strategy, before it is full-blown, has been constrained by international regulations. Third, China is facing a real “security dilemma.” Chinese leaders act on the understanding that China is rising and will assume great power status at the regional and global level. In the meantime, China is not a political ally of any dominant power in the region or the world, including Japan, the United States, and Europe due to the fundamental value clashes (democracy, human rights, etc.) If China has no access to certain core technologies and standards which are monopolized by foreign companies, China's national security could be at risk, particularly in the areas of E-government, information security, key technologies of high performance computers, etc. (People's Daily, 2007).

The rest of this chapter is organized into five further sections. The section on Standards and the motivations behind China's national standards strategy provides a brief summary of the motivations behind China's standards initiative and their specific policy goals and timelines.

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