Global China Meets Digital Africa : Technology Translation as a Framework

Activity: Talks or PresentationsOther Invited Talks or Presentations


As two emerging forces from the Global South, "Global China" has coincided with "Digital Africa" in the past two decades. This talk examines their encounter in the mobile phone sector through the case of Transsion, a Shenzhen-based company that dominates Africa’s phone markets. Critiquing "technology transfer" literature, I propose "technology translation" as a complementary framework to understand technology flows. Based on fieldwork in both China and Ghana, I will elaborate multi-layered technology translations by focusing on three moments in the social life of Transsion phones—design, marketing, and repair. While presenting new possibilities outside Silicon Valley, Transsion is also becoming a regional power in Africa. I argue that it is possible for Shenzhen to be Silicon Valley's "South" and Africa's "North" at the same time.
Period1 Mar 2023
Event titleArts Faculty Research Seminar Series
Event typeSeminar
Degree of RecognitionInstitutional