< Back to previous page


Platform Revolution from the Margin: How E-commerce Platforms Transform Peri-urban Spaces in China

 E-commerce has grown substantially in China over the past decade, with Chinese digital platform providers becoming serious competitors for western corporations. In this project, I aim to examine the rapid expansion of China’s platform economy and resultant transformations of the country. I will add a sorely-lacking geographical perspective, which will contribute to explaining the role of geography in the development of platform economy and to theorising changing relations between state, capital and citizenship in China in the platform age. I will do so by first offering a fresh perspective on the enabling conditions of platform economy. Instead of viewing its growth in isolation from wider changes in China as mainstream literature does, I consider it to be part of China’s ongoing economic and territorial restructuring to resolve accumulation and legitimation crises. I will then bring to the fore e-commerce clusters in peri-urban areas, which are product of and productive of e-commerce economy. In doing so, I will address the urban bias of current literature on platform capitalism. I will shift the conceptual lens from land, dominant in urban China studies, to commerce and labour in order to illustrate how e-commerce platforms transform territorial organisation, capital accumulation and everyday life in these areas. This will inform policy recommendations for authorities, especially in the Global South, on the potentials and pitfalls of e-commerce for territorial development. 

Date:1 Oct 2020 →  Today
Keywords:Platform capitalism, e-commerce, uneven development
Disciplines:Innovation, research and development, technological change, intellectual property rights, Area studies, Economic geography, Social geography, Urban and regional geography