Digital economy

Shoppers on a pedestrian street in Shanghai, China, on 18 June 2022. (Qilai Shen/Bloomberg)

China needs to rethink its regulations and governance of the platform economy

Over the past year, the Chinese government has taken strong action against monopolistic practices in the platform economy. However, with the effects of the pandemic, the economy needs a boost and the platform economy seems to be the way to lift it. Chinese academic Yi Xianrong says that to truly harness the strengths of the platform economy, the authorities need to see that it is a totally different entity from the traditional economic sectors and its governance needs some deep thinking.
A woman holds US dollar banknotes in this illustration taken 30 May 2022. (Dado Ruvic/Illustration/Reuters)

Quit the dollar: Can Asia build its own digital currency and digital payment infrastructure?

Calls for de-dollarisation have increased since the financial sanctions of the Ukraine war and the very real threat of the US dollar being weaponised. In this context, academic Pei Sai Fan explains why conditions are ripe for China and Asia to offer innovative alternatives, such as developing regional digital currency cooperation in the payment and settlement of regional trade and investment, and expediting the development of new cross-border digital payment infrastructure in Asia known as multi-CBDC platform projects.
People walk along a street near a closed market in Srinagar, India, on 17 June 2022. (Tauseef Mustafa/AFP)

From US to India: China's shifting tech investments shows overriding influence of politics

Over the past several years, Chinese private firms have ferociously invested in India’s tech start-ups. Initially welcomed, China’s diversion of interest from erstwhile US investment has been viewed with some measure of suspicion since the Galwan Valley conflict. Are we living in a world where investment patterns are determined by statecraft? ISAS academic Karthik Nachiappan examines the issue.
Southeast Asian governments have to step up cybersecurity and IP law enforcement. (Dado Ruvic/Reuters)

Southeast Asia should confront the threat of economic espionage from China and elsewhere

China is known for using cyber weapons to pursue geostrategic goals. In recent years, entities linked to the Chinese state have carried out alleged economic espionage of commercial firms in Southeast Asia. The region is increasingly vulnerable as it is home to some of the most rapidly growing knowledge-intensive sectors in the world. To help themselves, Southeast Asian governments should be more proactive in discussing the threat of economic espionage with foreign states and committing to norms of responsible state behaviour in cyberspace.
This aerial photo taken on 8 May 2022 shows a farmer planting red pepper seeds with a machine at a field in Bozhou in China's eastern Anhui province. (AFP)

Agricultural technology companies: A new highlight of China's economic growth

Technology expert Yin Ruizhi notes that one sector in which technology is lacking is traditional agriculture. Due to the scattered nature of the sector, it is difficult to implement technological solutions to production and sales. However, tech company Pinduoduo holds the power to integrate the market and reach buyers and sellers across the country.
An attendee wearing a virtual reality (VR) headset takes part in a concert experience in the metaverse at the SK Telecom Co. stand on the opening day of the MWC Barcelona at the Fira de Barcelona venue in Barcelona, Spain, on 28 February 2022. (Angel Garcia/Bloomberg)

Metaverse: What is it and who's in control?

The phrase “metaverse” has been bandied about but what exactly is it and how far along is the project? Academic James Pang and entrepreneur Liang Xinjun explain that the implications of this development are larger than most think. The metaverse is not so much a sub-world to enter into on the side but the integration of the real and virtual worlds and economic systems, essentially creating a new world with new governance structures and norms. US and Chinese firms are, of course, racing to get a big slice of the future.
Chinese paramilitary policemen keep watch while people visit Yu Garden in Shanghai, China, on 15 February 2022. (Hector Retamal/AFP)

China needs to work towards a new socialism

China is tottering between capitalism and old socialism in its pursuit of “socialism with Chinese characteristics”, says Lance Gore. Instead of further entrenching a system that feeds nationalism in the name of socialism, it would do well to update to a new socialism in which the concept of employment, wealth and happiness are redefined to better take advantage of the new technological revolution. But is China ready?
Livestreamer Huang Wei, known professionally as Viya, sits behind a ring light during a special livestreaming event arranged by Qianxun Group in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China, on 30 April 2020. (Qilai Shen/Bloomberg)

200 million Chinese are in flexible employment. Is this their choice?

As the impact of the pandemic persists, some 200 million people are choosing flexible employment, which gives them greater freedom in terms of work hours, work location and income. While the media is eager to highlight success stories of those in glamorous jobs such as livestreaming, in reality, companies are hiring general workers for odd jobs instead. How far do the statistics reflect the actual situation?
A man wearing a protective mask is seen inside the Shanghai Stock Exchange building at the Pudong financial district in Shanghai, China, 28 February 2020. (Aly Song/Reuters)

Digitalisation: How China’s smaller investment banks could compete with big foreign players

The recent accelerated opening up of China’s capital market has presented a challenge to investment banks in China, which may have seen their role marginalised or bypassed by major foreign players who have international experience and are highly capitalised and better managed. Academics Pei Sai Fan and Peng Chang suggest how investment banks in China can compete and stay relevant.