Seeking Virtual Capital Through Online Media in the Digital Age
This chapter explores outsourced Chinese soft power in the realm of online digital media. Whereas the traditional consumption of television series on a television set is on the shrink, many, particularly young people, now watch television series on mobile devices. Against this backdrop, this chapter asks and examines how digital media and platforms have popularly emerged as new ways of outsourcing Chinese soft power in a virtually transnational soft power field, and created “virtual capital,” a form of capital created in cyberspace and through online platforms. While Korean and Japanese viewers will look for “free” virtual capital—at no cost and uncensored in their countries—they often instead encounter the censored and manufactured virtual capital produced in television series. As such, using a similar set of virtual capitalized television series, locals and foreigners in the importing countries operate a pathway/strategy that diverges at the margins from the “traditional” outsourced Chinese soft power in a transnational soft power field.
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