Digital

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 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.
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 cyclist and pedestrians wearing protective masks travel past buildings on Financial Street in Beijing, China on 19 May 2021. (Yan Cong/Bloomberg)

Blindspots in the financial regulation of China’s tech ‘platform companies’

Zhang Yugui points out that China’s financial services development is currently at the awkward stage where there is much financial innovation and the opening up of the financial sector, but not yet the corresponding capabilities to manage the complex financial systems and cutting-edge fintech. Hence we see the recent rash of anti-monopoly measures directed at tech giants such as Ant Group and Tencent. But has the industry reached a true tipping point? What must regulators do to bridge the gap?
More Chinese tech companies are gaining a presence in Singapore. (Graphic: Ho Han Chong/SPH)

Singapore a popular base for China tech firms

In recent years, China's tech giants such as Alibaba, Tencent and ByteDance have set up regional offices in Singapore. With insights from industry experts, Zaobao senior business correspondent Chew Boon Leong analyses the impact that an influx of Chinese tech companies will have on Singapore. Will it affect Singapore's neutral stance and lead the nation to become a battleground for tech companies from the US and China?
Employees walk past chemical vapour deposition chambers at the Daqo New Energy Corp. plant in Shihezi, Xinjiang province, China, 11 May 2021. (Qilai Shen/Bloomberg)

Japanese academic: China’s industrial policy is not just about protectionism

Japanese academic Kai Kajitani notes that Chinese industrial policy has been attracting much attention these days, especially after recent moves to prevent monopolistic practices by major companies such as Alibaba. China has also been criticised by many for its practice of giving industrial subsidies. However, it is worth taking a closer look and examining these policies from the standpoint of current trends in economics, as like everyone else, China is experimenting with new possibilities.
Jack Ma, billionaire founder of Alibaba Group, arrives at the "Tech for Good" Summit in Paris, France, 15 May 2019. (Charles Platiau/Reuters)

What the Chinese government wants to tell Alibaba and China's tech giants [Part II]

Alibaba was fined a record 18.2 billion RMB after an anti-monopoly probe. Commentator Yuan Guobao observes that Alibaba is not the only tech giant in China accused of monopolistic practices; for that matter, the “big four” companies in the US have also come under the spotlight. All this suggests that on a global level, tech companies must be prepared to adhere to a strict regulatory environment, even as they break new ground.
An Alibaba sign is seen outside the company's office in Beijing, China, on 13 April 2021. (Greg Baker/AFP)

Is Alibaba doomed? [Part I]

Alibaba was recently slapped with a 18.2 billion RMB fine and has acquiesced to state authorities’ demands for “rectification''. Commentator Yuan Guobao asserts that Alibaba’s “choose one out of two” policy of tying online merchants down to exclusive deals was already sounding alarm bells. Jack Ma’s politically incorrect speech at the Shanghai Bund Summit may have been a fire starter, but the tech giant’s troubles have been brewing for quite some time.