Authored by: Jing Wang

The Routledge Handbook of Critical Finance Studies

Print publication date:  September  2020
Online publication date:  September  2020

Print ISBN: 9781138079816
eBook ISBN: 9781315114255
Adobe ISBN:


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The increasing application of digital technologies in finance has created a new business category—fin-techs. With more than 300 million lay investors actively participating in mobile payment, online loan, and digital investment, China has led the global fin-tech market in the past decade. How have digital technologies played a role in reshaping financial markets? Drawing on the idea of performative agency in cultural economy, this chapter discusses the dynamics and consequences of digital technologies in the development of Chinese fin-techs. Based on the case study of Yu’ebao, a popular investment app developed by Alibaba that helps e-commerce consumers to turn their remnant money into financial investment, this chapter identifies the performative nature of fin-techs. It is the adoption and promotion of digital technologies by the stakeholders for their own ends that rendered the advancement of Chinese fin-techs. Not the other way around. The key players include the state, oligopoly Internet corporations, marketing agencies, and the massive lay investors who collectively deepened the financialization in China. While the business media celebrate technological advancement as the determinant of fin-techs, this chapter sheds light on the structures and motivations of the pro-fin-tech actors.

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