Transnational Corporations Review
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Towards a New Age: Digital Transformation in Asian Economy

Virtual & In-person, March 28-30, 2024

1. General Information

Hosting organizations

Zhejiang University in partnership with TNCCS Canada

International collaborations (under invitations)  

² Columbia Center of Sustainable Investment, Columbia University

² Emerging Markets Institute, Cornell University

² School of Economics, Fudan University

² School of Economics, Nankai University

² School of Economics, Jilin University

² School of Economics and Trade, Hunan University


2. Conference Overview

The rapid development of the Asian economy has not only created the "East Asian miracle" that has attracted the world's attention, but also gradually become the "engine" of the global economy. It has also promoted the development of regional economic and trade cooperation, represented by the signing and implementation of a series of important cooperation agreements such as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), and the Digital Economy Partnership Agreement (DEPA). In the face of the intensification of international trade protectionism, the development of regional economic and trade cooperation is expected to be further strengthened. Therefore, with the advent of the digital economy era, it is important to examine the digital transformation in China, Asia, and the rest of the world and its implications for the sustainable and inclusive development.


Digital technologies affect foreign trade by reducing costs; facilitating the co-ordination of global value chains (GVCs); diffusing ideas and technologies across borders. Digital technologies and AI are increasingly having a transformative impact on international trade, foreign investment and global economic governance. Some studies have found that the introduction of AI-based machine translation has significantly increased trade on digital platforms. AI can also accelerate the transformation of the economy to the service industry.


However, there also have adverse effects, such as Industry 4.0 technologies that could erode the advantages of low-wage labor, exacerbate manufacturing reshoring, and negatively impact employment and trade in Asian countries. For example, AI tends to devalue the sources of comparative advantage of developing countries, deteriorate their terms of trade, potentially making them worse off in absolute terms and creating a winner-take-all dynamic that favors developed countries. Also digital technologies may be more appropriable and have less spillover benefits. This may lead to the dominance of big firms and present challenges for the countries and firms that lag in AI and digital to grow.


3. Proposed Topics

This conference aims to provide a platform for in-depth discussion and exchange on the economic and technological forces behind the digital transformation in Asia, particularly China. It is to discuss the impact of digital technologies and transformation on economic development (international trade, foreign investment, and global economic governance), as well as the design of economic policies that mitigate the adverse effects on emerging economies while taking advantage of the potential benefits of digital technologies. The conference theme covers but is not limited to the following topics relevant to Asian countries:


² AI, digital transformation and foreign trade

² AI, digital transformation and foreign investment

² AI, digital transformation and global value chains

² Digital transformation and economic governance

² Digital transformation and gap between developed & developing/emerging economies

² Digital transformation and DEPA, RCEP and CPTPP

² Identification and analysis of uncertainties for TNCs in a digital economy

² Impacts of regional crises (such as Russian-Ukraine Conflict) on FDI

² Impacts of bilateral/multinational treaties and international relations on digital FDI

² Impact of digital economy on employment in developing countries

² International agricultural value chains, food security and Chinese digital FDI

² Fintech development in Asia

² Other topics related to TNCs, FDI & digital trade in China, Asia, and Africa

4. Submissions, Publications, and Timeline

This conference is supported by a number of well-known journals including SSCI-listed journals. The selected conference papers in English will be considered for publications in those journals in either regular or special issues with an external review process. Invited experts will be at the conference under the hosts support to facilitate the review and select papers for potential publication. For international experts, the host will be providing invitation letters for visa and travel when necessary.


5. Proposed Timeline

² May 31, 2023, Detailed proposal and abstract

² October 31, 2023, final paper submission deadline

² December 31, 2023, selected papers for the conference agenda to be released


6. Contact Information: 

² China: Drs. Hongsheng & Gaoju, Zhejiang University (

² Overseas: Managing Editor, TNCCS Canada (