The Rise of China as a Cybersecurity Industrial Power: Balancing National Security, Geopolitical, and Development Priorities

  • Citation: Cheung, Tai Ming. “The Rise of China as a Cybersecurity Industrial Power: Balancing National Security, Geopolitical, and Development Priorities.” Journal of Cyber Policy 3, no. 3 (2018): 306–26.
    • Topics:
    • Conflict and Security
    • Keywords:
    • East Asia
    • China
    • cybersecurity
    • industrial policy

This article examines the development of China’s cybersecurity industry over the past two decades since the arrival of the internet in that country. This analysis takes place from a primarily security and technology perspective because the national security apparatus occupies a powerful presence in China’s cyber affairs. Moreover, the development of the cybersecurity industry is significantly driven by the development of technological capabilities. Key issues explored include: (1) Chinese decision-making and thinking on cybersecurity development within the context of the Chinese leadership’s general approach to development, national security, and technology advancement; (2) the nature and characteristics of recent Chinese cybersecurity-related development strategies and plans; (3) the drivers behind the development of China’s cybersecurity industry, looking especially at market failures, national security rationales, and government intervention; (4) the proliferation of principal actors and coalitions in the Chinese cybersecurity industry and how this influences its development; and (5) the nature of the relationship between the state and cybersecurity firms, in particular examining four types of interactions: the state as a customer; state hiring of talent; the state’s direct regulatory power, and the state as an investor. The article concludes by considering the international implications of China’s rise as an increasingly capable and confident cybersecurity power.

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