[Virtual Seminar] Dreaming Like a Market: Beneath the rise and fall of China’s P2P lending platforms

Dreaming Like a Market:

Beneath the rise and fall of China’s P2P lending platforms

In the past decade, Chinese people have swarmed into the peer-to-peer (P2P) lending industry as lenders and borrowers. Meanwhile, millions of desperate investors lost their life’s savings on these P2P platforms, many of which turned out to be Ponzi schemes. This talk derives from an article recently winning the Schneider Student Paper Prize Honorable Mention by Society for Economic Anthropology, AAA, and published in Economic Anthropology. It presents a failed yet influential social experiment of digital finance in the world’s largest developing economy and examines the fantasy of beneficial technology in shaping market morality and its unintended consequences.

About the Author:
Yichen Rao is a PhD candidate in Anthropology and STS at HKIHSS, University of Hong Kong. His dissertation fieldwork, funded by Wenner-Gren, is about China’s “internet finance” industry. He is an Adam Smith fellow at George Mason University and received Ernst Mach grant at University of Vienna. He studies digital economy, finance and technology in China.


Jan. 12, 2021


12:00-1:30 pm (GMT)

This webinar will take place online via Zoom.

Please REGISTER at https://www.scitechasia.org/ to secure a spot!

After registering, a separate Zoom registration link will be emailed to you.

The webinar will also be live-streamed on Facebook for those who are unable to participate via Zoom.

The seminar is supported by Department of Life Sciences and Center for Research in Anthropology, University of Coimbra.

About Sci-Tech Asia:


Sci-Tech Asia is an international research network promoting approaches to science and technology from the perspective of the humanities and social sciences. The network is open to researchers working on all geographical areas, but priority is given to researchers focusing on Asian contexts. Research interests are very diverse, not just in terms of topics but also in terms of theoretical approaches and disciplinary orientations. Sci-Tech Asia research focuses on contemporary issues, but also includes historical approaches to the formation of modern scientific and technological cultures in Asia and the world. The network was founded in Hong Kong in 2017 and is committed to the development of collaborative ties with researchers based in different countries and continents. This includes facilitating conversations between scholars working on different parts of Asia and building a global network of concerned scholars.


Please find us on the official website https://www.scitechasia.org/

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Yichen representing Sci-Tech Asia conveners

Prof. Loretta Lou (LSE / University of Macau)

Mr. Yichen Rao (University of Hong Kong)

Prof. Gonçalo D. Santos (University of Coimbra)