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China's Shanzhai entrepreneurs: hooligans or heroes? 中國山寨企業家:流氓抑或是英雄

Smith, Callum Michael Bowden

Description

In the final months of 2008, a certain kind of imitation mobile phone became popularly known as the ‘shanzhai handset’ ⼭寨⼿机. Originating from the Cantonese word saanjaaih chong ⼭寨廠, the modern Chinese term shanzhai ⼭寨 is often used to refer to activities that are unorthodox, involve imitation, and often mock the mainstream. Despite its widespread use, the actual meaning of the term shanzhai remains debateable. Through an analysis of academic and popular ...[Show more]

dc.contributor.authorSmith, Callum Michael Bowden
dc.date.accessioned2017-03-07T01:02:53Z
dc.date.available2017-03-07T01:02:53Z
dc.identifier.otherb43751234
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/1885/112879
dc.description.abstractIn the final months of 2008, a certain kind of imitation mobile phone became popularly known as the ‘shanzhai handset’ ⼭寨⼿机. Originating from the Cantonese word saanjaaih chong ⼭寨廠, the modern Chinese term shanzhai ⼭寨 is often used to refer to activities that are unorthodox, involve imitation, and often mock the mainstream. Despite its widespread use, the actual meaning of the term shanzhai remains debateable. Through an analysis of academic and popular discourse, and with reference to research interviews conducted in China, in this study I attempt to understand the different nuances and significance of the term shanzhai. I assess the extent to which the shanzhai approach is a historical one for China. In comparing ‘shanzhai culture’ to similar practices observable over the past two centuries of Chinese history, I demonstrate that shanzhai is distinctively related to ‘grassroots’ civilian culture. I conceptualise shanzhai production as a form of ‘disruptive innovation’ — a revolutionised mode of production which is enabled by disruptive technologies. Shanzhai products provide what I call the ‘non-consumers’ of the orthodox economy with access to technologies that would be otherwise unaffordable. I speculate that for the Chinese government, a tolerance of the sometimes law-infringing shanzhai consumption culture might serve to dampen the impact of income inequality and maintain social stability. For some policymakers, the unregulated shanzhai economy represents a safety risk. For aspirational up-and-coming local brands, however, it presents an opportunity.
dc.language.isoen
dc.subjectShanzhai
dc.subjectDisruptive Innovation
dc.subjectImitative Innovation
dc.subjectNon-consumption
dc.subjectHarmonious Society
dc.subjectChina
dc.titleChina's Shanzhai entrepreneurs: hooligans or heroes? 中國山寨企業家:流氓抑或是英雄
dc.typeThesis (Honours)
local.contributor.supervisorBarmé, Geremie R.
local.contributor.supervisorcontactgeremie.barme@anu.edu.au
dcterms.valid2015
local.description.notesThe author has deposited the thesis.
local.type.degreeOther
dc.date.issued2015
local.contributor.affiliationSchool of Culture, History and Language, College of Asia and the Pacific; Australian Centre on China in the World
local.identifier.doi10.25911/5d74e749587c4
local.mintdoimint
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