Traditional Chinese industries are emerging from their ‘Made in China’ model into the ‘Created in China’ generation. A new program at Curtin will strengthen the relationship between China’s and Australia’s creative industries, as both nations look to lessen their reliance on traditional industries.
Named the Digital China Lab, the program is an initiative of Professor Michael Keane from Curtin’s Centre for Culture and Technology. An expert in Chinese media policy and creative industries, Keane expects the Digital China Lab is expected to be a major centre for research into Chinese media and for facilitating Sino–Australian creative alliances.
The initiative is timely, with China on a mission to shed its manufacturing persona. The approach, Keane explains, is being driven by the country’s three big internet companies that are delivering innovations in big data, cloud computing and the internet of things.
“Influential Chinese media enterprises have convinced the government that it’s been slow to act on the capabilities of the internet, and to push Chinese business and culture out into the world.”
“The ‘Made in China’ model was successful for two generations, but they want to progress to a ‘Created in China’ era.
“Consequently, there’s been a policy shift, and the development of internet technologies in China is now revolutionising its manufacturing, agriculture and health sectors.”
Describing the change in mindset as ‘the uberisation’ of China, Keane says the Chinese government has begun sharing its economy with the global digital marketplace.
The aim is to drive mass entrepreneurship and by 2020 have China branded as an ‘innovative nation’. One initiative has been the creation of Hangzhou Science City as a centre of IT research and development. “China has been developing in this area but the government has recognised the potential of e-commerce to boost the economy and created a national ‘Internet Plus’ (Internet +) strategy. It will enable China to expand its global reach.”
“Science City is a dream town for startup businesses dealing with big data – 3D printing, film industries, games industries. However, business, policy and academic circles all over China are abuzz over the potential of Internet Plus.”
The Digital China Lab is the first Australian academic group to identify and explore the potential of this major cultural shift. Keane has also been approached by several Chinese universities interested in establishing a partnership ‘node’ in China.
“Curtin has considerable know-how in Chinese culture and business, which can assist Australian companies to engage in creative and communication industries in China,” Keane says. The Digital China Lab initiative has in part developed from Keane’s current study, ‘Willing Collaborators: Negotiating Change in East Asian Media Production’, funded by the Australian Research Council.