At the Crossroads between Cybersecurity and Trade Policy: Sino-US Digital Entertainment Collaborations

Date:  Tuesday, October 13, 2015 – 12:00pm
Location:  Yale Law School
127 Wall Street
New Haven, CT 06520
Location Details: Room 122

In a January 1, 2014 article, the People’s Daily newspaper published a recommendation by President Xi Jinping entitled “Increase Soft Power, Realize the China Dream” (tigao ruanshili, shixian zhongguo meng) which encouraged efforts to “strengthen construction of international broadcasting capacity, meticulously construct external discourse, exhibit up-and-coming media activity, increase the creativity, inspiration, and accountability of external discourse, tell proper Chinese stories, broadcast proper Chinese songs, and explain proper Chinese characteristics (my translation).” In order to protect the growth of Chinese digital distribution markets, digital distribution services like YouTube blocked within the Chinese market, offering local players like Youku, LeTV, and iQiyi space to grow their domestic business and expand globally. Following the 2014 Sony hack, there has been a renewed focus on the potential for cybersecurity attacks on US entertainment companies by foreign entities. Yet little attention has been paid to the implications of the growth online video platforms with close ties to governments that have been accused of cybersecurity attacks within the US. Chinese digital video providers have been rapidly growing within the Chinese market with both the support of domestic regulators and of US capital markets who have bankrolled the expansion of these platforms (Kokas, 2014). Advancing China’s soft power goals, the global expansion of Chinese digital distribution platforms both increases the trade imbalance and cybersecurity risks for US users. This paper will expand on Gillespie “politics of platforms” (2010) by exploring the intersection of cybersecurity and trade imbalance spurred by the global expansion of China’s digital entertainment portals.


Aynne Kokas is an assistant professor of media studies at the University of Virginia.

Kokas’ work focuses on the intersections between Chinese and US media and technology industries.  She is currently finalizing a book manuscript entitled Hollywood:  Made in China, and has recently started a second project entitled Networked Chinawood that focuses on the global impacts of Sino-US digital media distribution. Kokas has been a consultant for Warner Bros. Entertainment group, in addition to a range of other Fortune 500 technology and manufacturing companies.  Kokas’ research has been funded by the Fulbright Program, the Chinese Ministry of Education, the Social Science Research Council and the United Nations Institute of Advanced Studies.  She has been a visiting fellow at the Shanghai Institute of International Studies and a visiting professor at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, and is a non-resident scholar in Chinese media at the Baker Institute of Public Policy at Rice University. Kokas received a B.A. from the University of Michigan and a Ph.D. from UCLA. She is fluent in Mandarin and began her career in Chinese media by studying directing at Beijing Film Academy.