Industrial policy

The EX Future and Science Museum in Dalian.

Can northeast China revitalise its economy with robotic AI and green energy?

Dalian in China’s Liaoning province is not the first place one would think of in relation to the tech industry, but northeast China — despite the gap in its development compared to other parts of China — hopes to ride the wave of tech development, such as in the area of robotics.
China is placing greater emphasis on S&T and R&D. This picture taken on 22 September 2023 shows an employee from Chinese AR startup Rokid demonstrating an AR helmet at the company's office at the 2022 Asian Games host city Hangzhou, in China's eastern Zhejiang province. (AFP)

Can a new governance model boost China's chance for innovation-driven growth?

To overcome limitations in chokepoint technologies and improve its investment in basic research, China has rolled out a series of governance changes to the science and technology (S&T) ecosystem. Researcher Qian Jiwei examines the changes which could potentially result in a centralised leadership and decentralised fund allocation mechanism. Will it work?  
A woman rides her bicycle past a mural showing electricity poles in Hanoi, 19 June 2023. (Nhac Nguyen/AFP)

[Big read] South Korea looks to Vietnam to reduce reliance on China

As China becomes more self-sufficient in producing its own goods, South Korea — one of China’s major trading partners — has to look to other countries to reduce its reliance on the Chinese market. Given the growing economic and trade relations, as well as the flourishing people-to-people exchanges, Vietnam has become a top choice for South Korea to expand its market.
An electronic board shows stock indexes at the Lujiazui financial district in Shanghai, China, 21 March 2023. (Aly Song/Reuters)

China’s new measures to attract foreign capital may not be enough to boost confidence

The Chinese authorities have been working to restore confidence in the economy, especially among foreign businesses and investors. The latest policy move is a raft of 24 measures aimed at attracting foreign capital. However, it seems that there has been a lack of attention on these measures, and it is still unclear how far they will go in drawing investments back.
Employees react amid the chaos as Chinese and Indonesian workers clash at a nickel smelter in Morowali, Sulawesi, Indonesia in this undated social media video released 16 January 2023. (Revi Limbong via Reuters)

Workers' riot in a Chinese nickel company in Indonesia: Could it have been prevented?

A recent conflict between Indonesian workers and Chinese workers at a nickel smelter in Indonesia's North Morowali regency brings into focus several issues concerning Chinese investments in Indonesia, poor working environments, and bad treatment of local workers. Authorities must carefully manage the issue of migrant workers and balance national policy goals with local communities' interests.
A pedestrian walks at Central Business District (CBD) in Beijing on 16 January 2023. (Wang Zhao/AFP)

Politics a threat to China’s economy

Political commentator Jin Jian Guo observes that China economic policy has always been ruled by politics, and while it seems that the pendulum is swinging back in favour of private firms after a period of bashing and stifling, this is not a given as the politics of the day still rules.
People walk along a street in Beijing, China, on 17 July 2022. (Noel Celis/AFP)

China can overcome the middle-income trap with technological innovations

Researcher Ding Ke believes that the Chinese government is making efforts in using innovation to drive further development of the country and avoid the middle-income trap. But this would prove difficult amid heightened China-US tensions and the trend of economic decoupling.
The woodcut of a satay seller at work, given to the writer. (Lim Jen Erh)

The stories behind the woodcuts

A gift from a friend prompts former journalist Lim Jen Erh to think about the stories behind the scenes depicted in woodcuts, from simple days in school to the final days of the tongkangs on the Singapore River, and the artform that can be traced back to China, especially the modern woodcut illustration movement led by literary giant Lu Xun in the 1930s.
Workers assemble an electric car at the VinFast electric automobile plant in Haiphong, Vietnam, on 7 April 2022. (Nhac Nguyen/AFP)

Should Beijing worry about the exodus of manufacturing from China to Vietnam?

It appears that Beijing is losing some of its factory orders with MNCs and investors putting their bets on Vietnam. But maybe it is a win-win situation: as China moves to transition its economy to advanced manufacturing, countries like Vietnam with a young and relatively cheap labour force could fill the gap.