Cambria Press New Book: Q&A for Digital Media in East Asia

Academic Publisher Cambria Press

Cambria Press is pleased to announce that Digital Media in East Asia: National Innovation and the Transformation of a Region by Carin Holroyd and Kenneth Coates is now available!

While many observers understand that East Asian companies and countries have played a significant role in the growth of the digital sector, few understand the scale of the region’s presence in what many see as the most vibrant element in the twenty-first-century economy. On closer examination, however, it turns out that China, South Korea, Taiwan and Japan are more than prominent players in the new digital economy. Instead, as a collective force, East Asia dominates the global digital shift, producing much of the technology that underpins global digital integration and, now, establishing a steadily expanding presence in terms of digital content. This book thus makes significant contributions to East Asian studies (Korea, Japan, Taiwan and China), the scholarship on national innovation, and to debates about the economic, social, cultural, and political importance of digital media.

Below is the Cambria Press Q&A session with the authors.

Question: Why did you decide to write this book?

Answer: The decision to write this book arose out of our earlier work on science and technology in East Asia, specifically in Japan.  As we completed our research on two books about Japanese innovation (Innovation Nation: Science and Technology in 21st Century Japan and Japan and the Internet Revolution), we became increasingly aware of the scale of East Asia’s commitment to the digital economy.  The rapid emergence of Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, and China as leading innovators in the digital economy has been underappreciated around the world.  Some observers know parts of the story––Japan’s lead in animation and video games, Taiwan’s domination of the internal elements of digital devices, the startling rise of Samsung from South Korea and China’s emergence as a major digital marketplace.  We were convinced, however, that most commentators had not fully understood the scale and reach of the East Asian digital economy.  A series of research visits to Japan, Taiwan, China, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Malaysia made the range of the region’s engagement in the digital world increasingly obvious.  We got very excited about the scale and intensity of the digital sector in East Asia and the manner in which the region was asserting global dominance across much of the digital space.

Question: What do you hope your readers take away from your book?

Answer: We think that there are five major ideas that we want readers to take away from Digital Media in East Asia.

  1. That East Asia has established a formidable leadership position in the development of digital technologies and is by far and away the leading manufacturer of digital products in the world;
  2. That the region’s pattern of innovation and entrepreneurship in the digital economy, established initially by Japan, has been maintained.  The standard argument that East Asia lacks creativity in the design and development of new products is simply not tenable.
  3. That the emergence of digital content as a separate part of the digital economy is continuing apace in East Asia, generating a growing number of jobs and opportunities and fueling the development of new businesses across the region.
  4. That national governments have played a major role in the development of the digital economy, particularly in terms of digital manufacturing.  Like most countries around the world, they are struggling to figure out how to support and sustain the digital content sector.  However, and unlike most other nations, East Asian governments see the promotion of digital content as a key economic development strategy.
  5. That East Asia is developing as a self-referential digital region, with much of the development of hardware, software and applications focused on regional markets.  East Asian firms are looking at markets and consumers within East Asia, not to North America and Europe as in the past.  This means that many key innovations, particularly on the digital content side, are going unnoticed among western observers, who hold to the idea that North American and European companies are on the leading edge of the sector.

Question: What other research do you believe is needed on this topic?

Answer: The study of the digital economy and digital society in East Asia is at its infancy.  While there has been some work down on the economic aspects of digital East Asia and some critical evaluations of Internet-based information and social impacts, the field remains largely unstudied.  We need, for example, to know far more about the social consequences of digital sharing, particularly as regards what appears to be the development of a East Asian digital regionalism, quite distinct from the rest of the world.  Much more work is required on such topics as corporate integration in digital manufacturing, the role of specific government policies in fostering digital developments (particularly in digital health and digital education), the reach and impact (ie. on traditional retailers) of e-commerce, digital divides based on economic standing and rural/urban divisions within East Asia, government efforts to control or influence digital content, the emergence of the digital content sector as a major force, the evolution of Internet economics (which has been called digital swirl, or the creation of a non-monetized economy based on the exchange of digital products and services), and the nature of commercial and social ties between digital East Asia and the rest of the world.  We see Digital Media in East Asia as representing an early and, we hope, provocative introduction to a crucial element in the development of the 21st century society and economy.  There is a great deal more work to be done.

Recommend this book to your library! Librarians can order the book directly from Cambria Press or they can order through their preferred academic book wholesaler (Cambria Press is on the approval list of premier wholesalers like YBP).

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