Geopolitics of Standards - Highlights Video Recap

Standardization in China and the Geopolitics of Standards Development.

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Standardization plays a key role in supporting industry and global trade by opening opportunities for businesses to expand into new markets, meet regulatory requirements in unfamiliar industries, and gain visibility as an industry leader. However, the standardization process for those standards used globally can be influenced by geopolitical forces.

During this interactive event, Dr. Tim Nicholas Rühlig, Research Fellow at The Swedish Institute of International Affairs will present his work on the “Geopolitics of Standards,” a project which aims to enhance the knowledge and awareness around the increasing involvement of countries in international standardisation.

Event Recap

Dr. Tim Nicholas Rühlig’s work into the geopolitics of standardization began with the aim of better understanding the role the China was playing within the international landscape. 

In China, the standardization system consists of a state-tier and private-tier. The state-tier includes the following types of standards:

National Standards – these standards are developed by technical committees

Sector Standards – similar to national standards

Local Standards – developed under local governments

A Flow chart showing China's standardisation system after the reform

Private-tier standards are those developed by commercial entities. These would include corporations and requires those companies to register their standards with the Chinese government. 

In addition to current standardization efforts, China is developing its “China Standards 2035” plan.  A strategy for international standardization for emerging technologies like 5G internet, the Internet of Things (IoT), and artificial intelligence, among other areas. The plan has not yet been released, but early insights suggest a focus both on national standards development, international participation, and the development of standards through the Belt and Road Standards Forum. 


Tim Ruhlig Headshot


Tim Rühlig
Research Fellow

Recent Publications

Tim Rühlig joined UI in 2018 and is working on EU-China relations as well as Chinese foreign policy.

Tim is researching China’s foreign economic policy and its implications for Europe in general and smart seaport projects as well as  the role of technical standardization in particular.

Tim holds a PhD from the University of Frankfurt in which he investigated how the Chinese party-state copes with globalization and the transformation of the state. In 2018, he was the coordinator of the European Think Tank Network on China (ETNC) and lead editor of the network’s annual report assessing the role of political values in Europe-China relations. He has been a visiting research fellow at the China Foreign Affairs University in Beijing, Stockholm University, the European Institute for Asian Studies in Brussels and UI. Previously, he has studied political science, cultural anthropology, international relations and peace and conflict research. He was a research associate at the Cluster of Excellence “The formation of normative orders” in Frankfurt and has worked on political implications of social media discourses in China.

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