WeChat subscription accounts (WSAs) in Australia: a political economy account of Chinese-language digital/social media

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Media International Australia, 2021, 179, (1), pp. 96-112
Issue Date:
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This article is a political economy account of Australia-focused subscription accounts on the social media platform WeChat, based on an analysis of 50 top-ranked WeChat subscription accounts (WSAs) in Australia over a 1-week period in July 2019 and empirical data collected from 2 large surveys conducted among Chinese Australians in 2018 and 2019. It provides a nuanced understanding of the institutional context, regulatory framework and modus operandi of these WSAs, illustrating the development of and connection between the following three components: online Chinese-language media content, WeChat as a content delivery platform and WSAs as business initiatives. The article argues that the status of Chinese-language digital/social media in Australia is confined by a pre-existing technological infrastructure and regulatory framework, rather than any direct intervention of a specific authority, media outlet or platform, and that these media outlets and platforms should best be understood as an instance of transnational entrepreneurship.
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