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Accepted Paper:

I don't use it anymore: transnational migrants, replicated platforms and the tension brought by Chinese digital capital  
Yijia Zhang (University of British Columbia)

Short abstract:

Drawing on my fieldwork exploring consumption choices among Mandarin-language platform users in Vancouver, Canada, this paper examines the tension between individuals who have brought their Chinese digital capital overseas and platforms that intend to capitalize on such capital outside China.

Long abstract:

This paper explores the reactions of emigrant users to Mandarin-language platforms in their host country, examining the implications when individuals with Chinese digital capital encounter platforms seeking to exploit it beyond the Chinese market. It draws on my year-long dissertation fieldwork in Vancouver, Canada, where I utilized interviews, observation, and digital ethnography to understand the intricate dynamics of Mandarin-language platform utilization, work engagement, and entrepreneurial endeavours. Vancouver's landscape provides a rich tapestry of Mandarin-language platforms catering to the diverse needs of emigrants, spanning from take-out services to urban mobility solutions. Entrepreneurs and investors, inspired by the successes of similar platforms in China, seek to replicate this triumph in the relatively untapped Canadian market. However, findings suggest these attempts may face unexpected challenges. While emigrant users initially rely on Mandarin-language platforms upon arrival, their dependence gradually wanes as they adapt to their new environment. Interviews and observations reveal a shift in perceptions and lifestyles, with users developing skepticism towards these platforms, influenced by negative stereotypes rooted in the business strategies employed by Mandarin-language platforms in Canada, which they associate with unfavourable tactics and ethics they found in platform companies in China. In summary, this research illuminates the complexities of transplanting Chinese platform models abroad, underscoring the evolving dynamics between emigrant users and Mandarin-language platforms in their new societal context.

Traditional Open Panel P293
Unveiling Chinese digital capital in global mobilities and encounters
  Session 1 Friday 19 July, 2024, -