Chinese academic Fan Hongda notes that mutual benefit is the real driver of bilateral relations, and expecting “gratitude” for maintaining ties is not the way to go. China would do well to rethink its mindset in international relations and the role it plays in the world.
From a laser-etched calligraphy in a restaurant, art historian Chiang Hsun delves into the writings of Qing dynasty painter and calligrapher Zheng Xie, better known as Zheng Banqiao. Zheng was part of the “Eight Eccentrics of Yangzhou” group of painters who had wealthy businessmen patrons and developed an aesthetic grounded in the material and secular. Bright and colourful scenes of mirth were common — unlike the Song and Yuan dynasty literati before them who indulged in melancholic musings above worldly concerns. Contemporary ink artists may want to get some inspiration from Zheng's works, and boldly declare the feelings and observations of the times.
Since its inception in 1980, homegrown massage chair specialist OSIM International has striven to gain and maintain its foothold as one of the world’s leading wellness brands. China, with its vast market, is an important piece of the puzzle. OSIM’s presence in China for 28 years is not without its travails, but through constant innovation and a willingness to adapt to change, it continues to find a way to thrive amid the competition. CEO Charlie Teo shares the OSIM experience.
Zaobao journalist Tai Hing Shing notes that mainland Chinese companies in Hong Kong, Yangon and elsewhere often find themselves targets of attack. Why are they so unpopular in the very communities they seek to bring greater economic activity to? Perhaps they are expanding too much, too soon and too fast, giving little opportunities for locals to adapt. But their work cultures probably also play a big role.
Commentator David Ng explores the changes that are happening in China with developments in technology that allow vast changes in business models, from traditional offline transactions to online business, and “new retail”, which combines the two. How will the Chinese economy grow under these forces?
The idea of the Kra Canal, prevalent in the 18th and 19th centuries, resurfaced in the late 1990s as the Khlong Thai or “Thai Canal” idea. However, the high investment costs, massive and unpredictable adverse environmental impacts, and security implications have all weighed against its realisation. A mega project proposal that envisions building a “Land Bridge” between Chumphon Province on the Gulf of Thailand and an enlarged deep-sea port in Ranong Province on the Andaman Sea has now been touted, supported by the Prayut administration. Academic Termsak Chalermpalanupap examines the options.
Hong Kong commentator Chip Tsao observes that America's elites' hatred for Donald Trump is comparable to how the Chinese Nationalist government once detested Mao Zedong. Despite being a real estate tycoon, Trump entered the White House on the platform of making America great again. Whether he has done it is another matter, but the fact that he continues to play the outsider taking on the upper echelons on both sides of the spectrum suggests that it might be time for the American people and others to rethink what’s truly left and right.
Shenzhen has grown rapidly over the past 40 years, such that its GDP reached a massive 2.7 trillion RMB in 2019. Just this month, the Chinese government released a five-year plan to make Shenzhen a “pilot demonstration area for socialism with Chinese characteristics”. Amid plans for reforms and new initiatives, EAI academic Yu Hong asks: How much autonomy will Shenzhen have, and what challenges will it face?
China’s new Unreliable Entity List seems to be an echo of US actions. But while the list looks like a potentially lethal tool, it has to be wielded prudently in order not to hurt China’s economy or cause anxiety. Zaobao correspondent Yang Danxu examines the factors involved.