Juliette Genevaz is a Associate researcher at the French Research Institute on East Asia (IFRAE) at Inalco (Université de Paris)
Technological leadership in an interconnected world, China’s role in shaping technical standards
I seek to understand the multilateral implications of a new technological leadership, shifting from the United States towards China. Given that the technologies at the heart of China’s industrial planning are designed to increase the integration of global supply chains, China’s role in shaping the global standards allowing for this increased integration is gaining prominence. I compare the PRC’s behavior in four international technical standardization bodies: the International Standardization Organization (ISO), the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).
The comparison of China’s behavior in these three international technical standardization bodies will contribute to a growing field of research concerned with China’s multilateral action. Comparing a UN agency (the ITU) to non-governmental international organizations such as the ISO and the IEC will provide a better understanding of the Chinese actors who contribute to international fora in increasing numbers. In these agencies, Chinese interests are represented either by the Standardization Administration of China or by executives from the national champions such as Information Technology company Huawei or appliance manufacturer Haier. Historically ISO, the ITU, and the IEC are fora for engineering experts to discuss best practices, not for states per se. Analyzing the behavior of Chinese players in these agencies will allow for a better understanding of the interaction between Chinese public and private actors at the multilateral level.