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A rapidKL train travels along an elevated track above streets in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on 1 June 2021. (Samsul Said/Bloomberg)

Chinese companies see ASEAN as a bright spot for investment

According to a pulse survey conducted by Standard Chartered, Chinese companies are attracted to ASEAN’s large market and potential as regional production bases. External factors such as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Agreement (RCEP) could also funnel greater Chinese investment into the region in areas such as high-value manufacturing, energy and digital services.
A vendor (centre) sells meat at her stall in front of a residential building in Hanoi, Vietnam on 31 March 2021. (Manan Vatsyayana/AFP)

Shifting supply chains from China to Southeast Asia is hard but necessary

Amid the effects of the China-US trade war and the Covid-19 pandemic, global manufacturers are seeing the need to adopt a ”China+1“ strategy by diversifying their supply chains or business operations beyond China. However, moving parts of the supply chain to the Southeast Asian region is not so straightforward. What challenges do they face and how are they overcoming them? Will China's position as the "world's factory" be shaken and how will its economic model be changed?
A sign indicating digital yuan, also referred to as e-CNY, is pictured at a shopping mall in Shanghai, China, 5 May 2021. (Aly Song/Reuters)

China’s central bank digital currency (CBDC) innovations

In part 2 of his article on China’s digital currency ambitions, James Pang takes a look at how a Chinese central bank-issued digital currency — the DCEP — can complement existing e-payment methods and have an edge over traditional cash and cryptocurrencies when it is fully rolled out. Being the first major economy to launch a CBDC, China’s experience will be useful for other countries looking to hop onto the digital currency bandwagon. Utilisation of Chinese DCEP could also aid the process of internationalising the Chinese Yuan (RMB).
A sign indicating digital RMB is pictured on a vending machine at a subway station in Shanghai, China, 21 April 2021. (Aly Song/Reuters)

How China took the lead in the digital currency race

What’s the difference between virtual currency, digital currency, cryptocurrency, and e-money? In part 1 of his article on China’s digital currency ambitions, James Pang traces the development phases of China’s central bank digital currency DCEP amid a growing global appetite for central bank digital currencies. He also guides us through the jargon of the digital currency world.
CASA, an advocacy organisation for Latino and immigrant people and other immigrant advocacy groups, rally outside the White House in Lafayette Park, to demand that the Biden administration take action on citizenship for all on 26 May 2021 in Washington, DC. (Mandel Ngan/AFP)

Chinese academic: Developing nations must be wary of internet platform companies and their capital

Qiao Xinsheng points out that one should not have any expectations about the globalisation of the job market. In the internet economy era, even though internet platform companies facilitate capital’s global search for talent, this has not improved labour’s freedom of movement in search of better job opportunities. Cheap labour will continue to be exploited through the long arms of overseas capital. Not only that, with these companies' technology-enabled capabilities to collect massive amounts of data, national security will be a concern.
Shoppers and pedestrians walk along Nanjing Road in Shanghai, China, on 6 June 2021. (Qilai Shen/Bloomberg)

Dual circulation strategy revisited: China deepens integration with the global economy

When China’s “dual circulation” strategy was launched last year, some analysts interpreted it to mean that China would be focusing more on its domestic market. Figures show otherwise. Studying trade and investment indicators over the past few months, Chen Gang concludes that China’s economic engagement with the world is increasing as it runs on dual domestic and external engines.
A Chinese Yuan banknote is seen in front of displayed stock graph in this illustration taken on 7 May 2021. (Dado Ruvic/Reuters)

Will e-CNY spur the internationalisation of the RMB?

Academic Pei Sai Fan notes that China’s active promotion of the e-CNY has been closely linked to its ambitions of turning the RMB into a global trade and reserve currency. He says that the internationalisation of the RMB cannot be rushed. The more important thing for China to do now is to work on building its capabilities for crisis and risk management as well as gaining international support.
A man rides a bicycle along a street at the Raffles Place financial business district in Singapore on 20 April 2021. (Roslan Rahman/AFP)

Chinese financial institutions drawn to Singapore and Southeast Asian markets

With the signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and China's Belt and Road Initiative, a growing number of Chinese businesses are setting up outfits in Singapore, creating more opportunities for financial services providers from China. Associate business editor Hu Yuanwen takes a look at Chinese banking and insurance companies moving into Singapore, and how Singapore's business environment is changing.
Employees work on a production line manufacturing camera lenses for mobile phones at a factory in Lianyungang, Jiangsu province, China, 30 April 2019. (China Daily via Reuters)

Suspension of China-EU investment deal: A hiccup in the short run but a major loss if prolonged

Negotiations on the investment agreement between the EU and China were concluded at the end of last year but the European Parliament recently passed a resolution to freeze any consideration or discussion of the agreement. This was following retaliatory sanctions from China after the EU's round of Xinjiang-related sanctions. NUS academic Cai Daolu sees the suspension as a economic and trade relationship hiccup in the short run. But if prolonged, it would turn into a missed opportunity, not just for EU and China, but for the global economy as well.