Accepted paper:

Struggling in the Bubble: Workers' Experiences in China's digital economy

Authors:

Bingqing Xia (East China Normal University)

Paper short abstract:

Little is known about how professional internet workers are experiencing this process. Therefore, this paper answers this question by focusing on how social relations are reconfigured and subsumed in the capital accumulation process in the realm of the internet content industry.

Paper long abstract:

Since 2015, Baidu, Alibaba, and Tencent have constructed a BAT empire in the Chinese internet content industry via mergers and acquisitions. However, little is known about how professional internet workers are experiencing this process. Therefore, this paper answers this question by focusing on how social relations are reconfigured and subsumed in the capital accumulation process in the realm of the internet content industry. This paper argues that fresh graduates are subsumed into the accumulation by dispossession process as the immaterial resources in the circulation of capital. They become the silent cogwheels of the enlarged internet content empire. Moreover, this paper explores the way monopolies shift the risks of development onto independent start-ups by not funding the failures and using market power to extract low purchase prices for copyright and patent. It is necessary to criticise that the capitalist accumulation by dispossession in China's internet content industry subsumes large numbers of fresh graduates as well as shifts risks and costs of failure onto independent start-ups. This paper therefore suggests a further discussion on dynamics between China's digital monopolies and independent start-ups as well as individual young workers.

panel P059
Rearticulating labour: staying, moving, and mobilizing along global commodity chains