Industrial Internet Platforms, Restructuring of Production Networks, and Work in China and Germany


In this project we investigate the reorganization of production networks in China and in Germany through the "Internet of Things" (IoT) and digital platforms in the context of the “Made in China 2025” government strategy and the German concept of Industry 4.0. The goal is to identify characteristic pathways of digitalized manufacturing in both countries, and their impact on work and labor relations.

The qualitative research project addresses the following levels of analysis:

  1. The identification of the main industrial internet platforms in each country, their business models and their relationship to customers with special focus on the origin, use and control of data. The inquiry aims to identify the role of industrial internet platform as actors in global production networks and asks whether these platforms are oligopolies-in-the making in the field of industry-related data.
  2. The analysis of the impact of industrial internet platforms on the restructuring of industrial sectors through empirical studies on use cases in each country. Through case studies on companies from different sectors it will be explored how data-driven business models affect the governance of global value chains. The analysis further asks how this affects the possibilities for industrial upgrading and work.

The project is implemented in cooperation with Prof. Boy Lüthje at the Institute of Social Research in Frankfurt.