Government intervention

People wearing face masks walk near Qianmen Street, in Beijing, China, 10 February 2021. (Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters)

Can the CCP forge an inclusive social contract and build a healthy civil society?  

Rather than perpetuate the “giant baby syndrome” of mollycoddled citizens, says Lance Gore, the Chinese government should go against its combative instincts and focus on harmony. Only then can it forge an inclusive social contract with the populace, where there’s room for active citizenry and a healthy civil society.
In this file photo taken on 20 October 2019, people walk in front of a screen at the World Internet Conference (WIC) in Wuzhen, Zhejiang province, China. (Aly Song/File Photo/Reuters)

Beijing's tech conundrum in 2021: How to bolster tech sector while reining in the digital giants

Amid greater efforts at achieving greater self-sufficiency in developing core technologies, China will turn to an erstwhile resource it has depended on — the state — to move forward. But will state-controlled venture capital funds be nimble enough to catch the next wave of tech innovations? And judging by the regulatory clampdown on Ant Group and others in recent months, a key preoccupation of 2021 will remain growing the digital economy while trying to rein in digital giants.
Alibaba Group co-founder and executive chairman Jack Ma attends the World Artificial Intelligence Conference (WAIC) in Shanghai, China, 17 September 2018. (Aly Song/REUTERS)

Alibaba probe: China's challenges in dealing with monopolies start with the state-owned enterprises

With the recent investigation into Alibaba for alleged monopolistic actions, Chinese legal expert Zong Haichao explores the need for balance in the measures taken by the Chinese government to curb monopolies. While many expect 2021 to be “year one” of the anti-monopoly era, Zong cautions that there are many challenges facing China's anti-monopoly moves, including the presence of state-owned enterprises and the lack of a sophisticated Chinese legislative structure.
A logo of Ant Group is pictured at the headquarters of the company, an affiliate of Alibaba, in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, China, 29 October 2020. (Aly Song/File Photo/Reuters)

Regulating new technologies: Singapore and China can work together

Law experts Tan Chong Huat and Amanda Chen observe that the recent halting of Ant Group’s dual listing on the Hong Kong and Shanghai stock exchanges augur more regulatory changes in the micro-loans industry. While this lowers financial stability risk, will more of such regulations hinder fintech advancements? Where’s the middle ground? In their opinion, there is much that Singapore and China can learn from each other in the regulation of emerging technologies.
A taxi drives along a road before the city skyline in Hong Kong on 15 August 2020. (Isaac Lawrence/AFP)

A reshuffle of global financial centres on the cards?

Research analyst Fiona Huang argues that globalisation has a huge part to play in building global financial centres. If basic prerequisites such as close cooperation with regulators and market stability are met, the next-level condition for a flourishing global financial centre is an open attitude towards global capital and culture. How will the changing political milieu around the world today lead to a reshuffle of global financial centres?
Pedestrians walk past market stalls along a street in Hong Kong on 24 November 2020. (Peter Parks/AFP)

Why Hong Kong is failing to stop the spread of Covid-19 again

During the SARS outbreak in 2003, the whole of Hong Kong came together to fight it. That unity is unfortunately gone now, says Tai Hing Shing. Without that spirit, even if the government bucks up and imposes even harsher measures, Hong Kong may need to brace itself for further waves of Covid-19.
A man visits a Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation (SMIC) booth, at China International Semiconductor Expo, in Shanghai, China, 14 October 2020. (Aly Song/Reuters)

Chinese companies drawn to chip-making like bees to honey

Amid international supply chain restrictions that have stalled China’s chip manufacturing industry, Chinese companies are heeding the country’s clarion call to quickly skill up and help China achieve self-reliance in the field. With all and sundry throwing their hats into the ring, it seems that the country’s currently counting more on enthusiasm, rather than expertise, to make it happen. Will this mean more haste, less speed?
A man uses his phone outside Beijing Railway Station in Beijing on 19 August 2020. (Noel Celis/AFP)

Can the Great Firewall of China ever be overcome?

A Chinese app called Tuber barely had time to take root before it was yanked out of existence. It apparently gave Chinese netizens a way across the Great Firewall of China to foreign websites. In practice, those who jumped to try the app noted that it was not as revolutionary as touted to be, yet this could be a glimmer of things to come. With netizens becoming more discerning and information flows increasingly hard to stem anyway, Yang Danxu muses that a lighter touch may be the way to go.
A general view shows a market in Phnom Penh on 2 October 2020. (Tang Chhin Sothy/AFP)

Cambodia: Hard landing for China’s soft power?

Since the early 2000s, there has been an influx of Chinese nationals, investment, and development assistance as part of China’s projection of its soft power in Cambodia, most prominently in Sihanoukville. All this has led to resentment among Cambodians, amid China's seeming efforts to turn Sihanoukville into Cambodia's Shenzhen.