Digital Confrontation between USA and China: Economic and Political Dimensions

DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2023-67-11-15-23
N. Tsvetkova,
Saint Petersburg State University, 1/3, Smolnogo Str., Saint Petersburg, 191124, Russian Federation.
A. Sytnik,
Saint Petersburg State University, 1/3, Smolnogo Str., Saint Petersburg, 191124, Russian Federation.

Received 24.07.2023. Revised 07.08.2023. Accepted 09.08.2023.

Abstract. China turned out to be the only rival to the US in terms of producing digital products sold in the global market. Digital confrontation, previously defined as economic competition between the United States and China in the fields of development, production, application, and control over digital products and social media platforms, has been transformed into political and ideological deterrence. The United States maintains its leadership in the world of technological innovations and is aimed at rolling back China’s informational activity in social media and its digital products from the markets of both the United States and target regions and countries indicated as a concern of US national security. The administration of Biden has intensified this confrontation by introducing the so-called policy of digital split with China limiting its access to US innovations, blocking social media platforms, and creating an anti-Chinese alliance in cyberspace. This study assesses China’s actions in cyberspace, including issues of digital expansion in African, Asian, and Latin American countries; information campaigns in social networks; and cyber-attacks in the United States. The countermeasures of the United States against the technological growth and expansion of China have been identified in the areas including the establishment of an anti-Chinese digital coalition, the policy of digital connectivity in the Asia-Pacific region, the bilateral cyber diplomacy, and restrictions on the dissemination of Chinese digital products and social networks in the United States. The study concludes that the United States has embarked on a large-scale reduction in China’s technological growth and cyberpower over the next three to five years.

Keywords: digital confrontation, cyberdiplomacy, United States, China


1. Voytolovsky F.G. US Strategy in a Changing World Order: Challenges for Russia. Bulletin of the Russian Academy of Sciences, 2021, vol. 91, no. 7, pp. 616-626. (In Russ.) Available at:

2. Kondrat’ev V.B., Popov V.V., Kedrova G.V. Critical Materials’ Supply Chains and US National Security. World Economy and International Relations, 2023, vol. 67, no. 2, pp. 5-16. (In Russ.) Available at:

3. Momoko K. Taiwan’s TSMC as a Focal Point of US-China High-Tech Conflict. Asia-Pacific Review, 2022, vol. 29, iss. 1, pp. 5-12. Available at: https://doi:10.1080/13439006.2022.2055407 

4. Leksyutina Ya.V. U.S.-China Relations in 2018–2019: Trade War and the Process of Decoupling. World Economy and International Relations, 2020, vol. 64, no. 6, pp. 85-93. (In Russ.) Available at:

5. Mori S. US Technological Competition with China: The Military, Industrial and Digital Network Dimensions. Asia-Pacific Review, 2019, vol. 26, iss. 1, pp. 77-120. Available at: https://doi:10.1080/13439006.2019.1622871

6. Wright C. China’s Digital Colonialism: Espionage and Repression along the Digital Silk Road. SAIS Review of International Affairs, 2021, vol. 41, no. 2, pp. 89-113.

7. Gamza L.A. Technological Confrontation between USA and China in Europe. World Economy and International Relations, 2021, vol. 65, no. 7, pp. 98-105. (In Russ.) Available at: 

8. Zinovieva E.S., Shitkov S.V. Digital International Relations: In 2 vol. Moscow, Aspect Press, 2023. Vol. 1. 354 p. (In Russ.)

9. Markov A.S., Romashkina N.P. The Problem of Identifying the Source (Atribution) of Cyberattacks – An International Security Factor. World Eonomy and International Relations, 2022, vol. 66, no. 12, pp. 58-68. (In Russ.) Available at: 

10. Lebedeva M.M., Zinovieva E.S. International Negotiations in the Digital Age. Vestnik RUDN. International Relations, 2023, vol. 23, no. 1, pp. 144-156. (In Russ.) Available at: 

11. Snapkovskii V.E., Fedotov L.A. On Certain Research Approaches to the World Information and Communication Order. World Eonomy and International Relations, 2023, vol. 67, no. 2, pp. 67-77. (In Russ.) Available at: 

12. Moore G.J. Huawei, Cyber-Sovereignty and Liberal Norms: China’s Challenge to the West/Democracies. Journal of Chinese Political Science, 2023, vol. 28, no. 1, pp. 151-167. Available at: 

13. Harriet M. The Vital Role of International Law in the Framework for Responsible State Behaviour in Cyberspace. Journal of Cyber Policy, 2021, vol. 6, no. 3, pp. 394-410. Available at:

14. Zhuravleva V.Yu. American Presidents in Polarized D. C.: From Barack Obama to Joe Biden. Vestnik of Saint Petersburg University. International Relations, 2021, vol. 14, no. 3, pp. 334-347. (In Russ.) Available at: 

15. Zhuravleva V.Yu. Trump 2020: Protest President in Polarized Country. World Economy and International Relations, 2020, vol. 64, no. 10, pp. 17-28. (In Russ.) Available at: 

16. Mikheev V.V., Lukonin S.A. New Stage in China’s Development amid the “Trade War” with the U. S. World Economy and International Relations, 2019, vol. 63, no. 2, pp. 56-65. (In Russ.) Available at:

17. Tsvetkova N., Sytnik A., Grishanina T. Digital International Relations: Uncertainty, Fragmentation, and Political Framing. Lagutina M., Tsvetkova N., Sergunin A., eds. The Routledge Handbook of Russian International Relations Studies. New York, London, Routledge, 2023, pp. 381-395.


1. Digital China Development Report (2022) Released, China’s Digital Economy Ranks Second in the World. Business Wire, 30.04.2023. Available at: (accessed 01.05.2023).

2. Digital Economy. U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, 22.11.2022. Available at: (accessed 01.05.2023).

3. Annual Number of Data Compromises and Individuals Impacted in the United States from 2005 to 2022. Statista, 2023. Available at: (accessed 01.05.2023).

4. Remarks by National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan on Renewing American Economic Leadership at the Brookings Institution. The White House, 27.04.2023. Available at: (accessed 01.05.2023).

5. USAID Digital Frontiers. Vietnam Digital Innovation Ecosystem Analysis. USAID, September 2020. Available at: (accessed 01.05.2023).

6. Among U.S. Public Overall, around Eight-In-Ten Express an Unfavorable Opinion of China. Pew Research Center, 2022. Available at: (accessed 01.05.2023).

7. Executive Order on Addressing the Threat from Securities Investments that Finance Certain Companies of the People’s Republic of China. The White House, 03.06.2021. Available at: (accessed 01.05.2023).

8. Social Media’s Impact on Homeland Security. Hearings at Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. United States Senate, 14.09.2022. Available at: (accessed 01.05.2023).

9. TikTok Net Ad Revenue in the U.S. 2021–2024. Statista, 06.01.2023. Available at: (accessed 01.05.2023).

10. YouTube Revenue and Usage Statistics, 2023. BusinessofApps, 27.07.2023. Available at: (accessed 02.08.2023).

11. Social Media and National Security. Hearings at Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. United States Senate, 14.09.2022. Available at: (accessed 01.05.2023).

12. An Oversight Hearing to Examine A. I., Focusing on Rules for Artificial Intelligence. Hearings at Judiciary Committee. United States Senate, 16.05.2023. Available at: (accessed 01.05.2023).

For citation:
Tsvetkova N., Sytnik A. Digital Confrontation between USA and China: Economic and Political Dimensions. World Eonomy and International Relations, 2023, vol. 67, no. 11, pp. 15-23. EDN: GTUNJP

Comments (0)

No comments

Add comment






Dear authors! Please note that in the VAK List of peer-reviewed scientific journals, in which the main scientific results of dissertations for the degree of candidate and doctor of sciences should be published for the “MEMO Journal” the following specialties are recorded:
economic sciences:
5.2.5. World Economy.
5.2.1. Economic Theory
5.2.3. Regional and Branch Economics
political sciences:
5.5.4. International Relations
5.5.1. History and Theory of Politics
5.5.2. Political Institutions, Processes, Technologies


Current Issue
2024, vol. 68, No. 5
Topical Themes of the Issue:
  • Are There Any Ways to Break Through the Korean Nuclear Impasse?
  • Contemporary U.S. Taiwan Policy: Balancing on the Edge
  • The Gulf Monarchies’ Vision of the Global Order Transformations and the Russian Place in It
  • At Post-Soviet Space
Submit an Article
The Editorial Board invites authors to write analytical articles on the following topics:
  • changes in the processes of globalization in modern conditions
  • formation of the new world order
  • shifts in civilization at the stage of transition to a digital society

The editors are also interested in publishing synthesis articles / scientific reviews revealing the main trends in the development of certain regions of the world - Latin America, Africa, South Asia, etc.