A recent survey of 1,064 Chinese adults done right before the US presidential elections shows that Chinese people are much more favourably disposed towards Singapore than other rich nations such as Australia, Japan and the US. What does China see in Singapore?
The conclusion of the EU-UK Trade Cooperation Agreement and the EU-China Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI) in the last days of 2020 sent a strong signal that the EU will not wait for the US to resume a leading role in the world economic order. Building partnerships with countries like China are just the impetus the EU needs to deepen integration and build better prospects for itself. In this move away from a US-centric view of the economic order, the EU is not alone.
China’s manufacturing sector is known to be the “world’s factory”, and its scale is unrivalled. However, Chinese academic Chen Hongbin notes that this manufacturing behemoth is not as strong as it seems.
China’s Ministry of Commerce recently released new rules targeted at blunting the suppressive impact of the US’s long-arm jurisdiction statutes on Chinese companies. The method, however, looks likely to put stress on third-party companies supplying to Chinese companies. Would this be a case of cutting off the nose to spite the face?
Adherence to IP protection and the rule of law are common and valid concerns of US and Western practitioners doing business in China. Commentator Deng Qingbo says that in that light, China’s recent stated focus on technological innovation should be cheered, as science, rational thinking, abiding by the rules, and even democracy often go together. At the same time, the Chinese need to better communicate their desire to share the fruits of their technological advancements with the rest of the world.
Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian's recent tweet of an image depicting an Australian soldier holding a knife to a child’s throat has brought China-Australia relations to a new low. While the Australian prime minister has softened his stance and even made goodwill gestures to China, these were rejected by Chinese officials and its people. Edwin Ong traces the deterioration of China-Australia relations and notes that China may not rein in its abrasive wolf-warrior tactics anytime soon. However, he says such tactics may not benefit China in the end.
Two Singaporean businessmen reflect on their years spent working in China, and consider the Chinese approaches and attitudes that Singapore can do well to learn from. With the right bold strategic moves, more targeted incentives to specific sectors and also to civil servants, as well as an openness to adapt some of the lessons from countries like China, Singapore can remain globally relevant in these very uncertain times.
Innovation features prominently in the proposals for China's 14th Five-Year Plan. Apart from building up long-term resources such as education and basic scientific research, much government weight will be thrown behind building self-reliance in core technologies, including in the semiconductor industry, says Erik Baark and Qian Jiwei.
Even under the incoming Biden administration, it is likely that the US will continue seeking to work with allies such as the EU against China. However, says Zhu Ying, having a common agenda, and even a certain amount of willingness, is very different from being able to achieve the goal of joining hands against China.