Digital economy

Singapore's Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat (left) with Chinese Vice-Premier Han Zheng at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing, China, on 22 May 2019, at the start of his week-long visit to China. (Ministry of Communications and Information)

Heng Swee Keat: Singapore and China will build better future for region and the world

Ahead of the 18th Joint Council for Bilateral Cooperation (JCBC) meetings between Singapore and China — the first to be held in person since the outbreak of the pandemic — Singapore’s Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for Economic Policies Heng Swee Keat sets out a few priorities in taking Singapore-China relations to new heights.
Short video platforms Douyin and Kuaishou have focused on a new model of "goods seeking people". (Internet)

Newcomers Douyin and Kuaishou takes on tech giants to refresh the face of e-commerce

Technology expert Yin Ruizhi delves into the differences between traditional e-commerce platforms such as Alibaba and JD, and “interest-based” platforms such as Douyin and Kuaishou, and explores the possibilities for what e-commerce might look like in the future, as both types of platforms operate alongside each other.
Silhouettes of laptop users are seen next to a screen projection of binary code are seen in this picture illustration taken 28 March 2018. (Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo/Reuters)

Web3 with Chinese characteristics: Finding China's solution for regulators, developers and users

Crypto ban notwithstanding, China’s getting firmly in the act of building Web3 infrastructure to its specifications. While China is unlikely to allow global Web3 to play a role in its economy or the lives of its citizens, Chinese developers and entrepreneurs remain fascinated by the promise of global Web3 platforms and cryptocurrencies. This portends the development of two blockchain markets in China: one which caters to those who “jump” the virtual fence to join in the global Web3 movement, and one which uses blockchain in line with Beijing’s vision.
People walk along a street in Beijing, China, on 17 July 2022. (Noel Celis/AFP)

China can overcome the middle-income trap with technological innovations

Academic Ding Ke believes that the Chinese government is making efforts in using innovation to drive further development of the country and avoid the middle-income trap. But this would prove difficult amid heightened China-US tensions and the trend of economic decoupling.
A representation of cryptocurrency Bitcoin is seen in front of a stock graph and US dollar in this illustration taken 24 January 2022. (Dado Ruvic/Reuters)

Why Bitcoin can never be a mainstream currency

Technology expert Yin Ruizhi notes that while Bitcoin is a bold experiment in cryptocurrencies, in its current form it is still too unstable and resource-intensive to take the place of legal currencies as a mainstream global currency.
A pedestrian walks past a sign for China Broadnet 5G services in Chaoyang district, Beijing, China, 27 June 2022. (CNS)

China's 5G ambitions undiminished by pandemic and sanctions

While China has accelerated its push to build the infrastructure and to promote 5G among telcos and subscribers, it still faces a shortage of exciting new 5G applications that will draw in a constant stream of consumers or find wider industrial use. Amid a hostile external environment, it also faces some challenges in rolling out 5G and other advanced digital technologies through the Digital Silk Road. Nonetheless, it plans to go full steam ahead.
A view of Singapore's central business district, 25 June 2022. (SPH Media)

China’s Big Tech firms drive talent war in Singapore

China’s tech titans have sparked a talent war in Singapore with their offers of high salaries, flexible work arrangements, and professional development opportunities. Zaobao journalist Liu Liu explains in this third of a seven-part Lianhe Zaobao-Business Times series on China and ASEAN.
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.