In the past two decades, regulatory governance has been growing in complexity, due in no small part to the rapid diffusion of regulatory regimes from industrialised economies to developing countries and to the ever-expanding scope of regulation in different sectors. In terms of regulatory approaches, a focus on national styles has gradually shifted to a focus on local levels, down to street-level regulators. Together with the emergence of ideas about the co-creation of value, more complexity has been added to existing dialogues between legalistic and cooperative/voluntary paradigms. As for strategies for compliance, regulated entities, particularly enterprises, have moved from a preoccupation with the choice between compliance and evasion to considering compliance as part of a broader strategy for gaining competitive advantages and achieving business innovations. As more developing and emerging countries have adopted their own regulatory regimes under diverse national circumstances, new theoretical frameworks are needed to account for how cross-national variations affect emerging issues in regulatory governance.

In addition to complexities, new sectors (e.g., information technology and the internet) have emerged that call for some forms of government or self-initiated regulation. These newly emergent domains often involve problems that are distinctly different from those in the traditional domains (e.g., environmental, educational, and financial). Even within the traditional domains, changes are occurring because of, for example, the rise of new technologies. Adding to these nation-based complexities is the globalisation of regulatory governance. As pressures grow for the establishment of global regulatory regimes, regulatory norms in different parts of the world will need to be revised. All of these developments are generating excitement and causing research agendas on regulatory governance to be revised, to accommodate the greater demand for both theoretical advancements and empirical-based problem-solving.

In the face of the aforementioned trends, the Chinese University of Hong Kong, with strong support from the the ECPR (European Consortium for Political Research) Standing Group on Regulatory Governance, is introducing this conference series on regulatory regimes in Asia as an initial step to globalising research on regulatory governance. The objective is to gather together researchers from both East and West to explore complex issues on regulatory governance. Underpinning this event is the vision of building a global network to meet the demands and challenges of globalising research on regulatory governance. Specifically, this conference aspires to:

  1. To promote research on regulatory governance in the Asia-Pacific region;
  2. To provide a venue for researchers on regulatory governance in the Asia-Pacific region to connect with each other;
  3. To bring leading researchers on regulatory governance in the West to Asia to share academic insights with their peers in the Asia-Pacific region; and
  4. To set up a global research network on regulatory governance, with regular conferences in the Asia-Pacific region held in alternate years with ones organised by the Standing Group on Regulatory Governance of the ECPR in Europe.

Since its inauguration in Bath in 2006, the biennial conference of the ECPR Standing Group on Regulatory Governance has become the leading forum for research on regulations and regulatory governance in Europe, and has led to the forging of a strong European network of researchers studying various dimensions of regulatory governance. Given the growing attention to regulatory governance in Asia, the CUHK has initiated another biennial conference series, with the strong support of the EPCR Standing Group on Regulatory Governance. These conferences will be held in the Asia-Pacific region, with a view to energising research on regulatory governance in this region. We aspire to bring to Hong Kong scholars and researchers from countries/regions in Asia-Pacific region, such as Australia, Mainland China, Taiwan, India, Singapore, and South Korea, to interact with their Western peers to jointly unpack the complexity of regulatory governance at the local, regional, and global levels.

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