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Motorists travel past a screen displaying stock figures in Shanghai, China, on 18 February 2021. (Qilai Shen/Bloomberg)

Innovation and ‘new retail’ driving the Chinese economy

Commentator David Ng explores the changes that are happening in China with developments in technology that allow vast changes in business models, from traditional offline transactions to online business, and “new retail”, which combines the two. How will the Chinese economy grow under these forces?
People walk along a bridge that connects two shopping malls in Jakarta on 14 February 2021. (Adek Berry/AFP)

Chinese academics: How China and ASEAN can deepen digital economy partnership

With the conclusion of the 1st ASEAN Digital Ministers Meeting (ADGMIN) last month and the series of digital policies introduced, ASEAN is ready to move forward on building an integrated digital economy. Even as ASEAN aims to become an important player in the digital global value chain, there are areas where China and ASEAN can work together to achieve a win-win situation. Professor Zhai Kun of Peking University and Yuan Ruichen, member of the research group of the BRI Big Data Innovation Experimental Project, suggest cooperation in areas such as building smart cities, cybersecurity and digital governance.
This file photo taken on 27 October 2020 shows a woman walking past an Alipay advertising billboard in a subway in Beijing. (Greg Baker/AFP)

Building an integrated digital economy: How Asia can continue to thrive in the post-pandemic era

With the pandemic showing little signs of slowing and as countries around the world shift away from the traditional economy, academic Pei Sai Fan notes that this is an opportune time for Asia to boost its digital economic sector. Namely, there will be the opportunity to consider building a more integrated Asian digital economy and to promote Asian digital trade and a common digital currency.
Signage for the digital yuan, also referred to as E-CNY, at a self check-out counter inside a supermarket in Shenzhen, China, on 20 November 2020. (Yan Cong/Bloomberg)

Token economics: How Singapore can boost synergy with China in building digital economies

Academics Pei Sai Fan, David Lee and Yan Li say that an understanding of other countries’ technological culture and policies is crucial in advancing digital economic cooperation. For instance, in the main, Singapore and China are able to mutually respect the differences in their blockchain and token policies, and focus on the complementarity of their approaches. Together, they can deepen their collaboration on central bank digital currencies and other projects, and lead the way regionally and globally in building digital economies of the future.
The Alibaba Group logo is seen during the company's 11.11 Singles' Day global shopping festival at their headquarters in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, China, 11 November 2020. (Aly Song/REUTERS)

Alibaba’s expansion into Malaysia: A double-edged sword?

Academic Tham Siew Yean notes that Alibaba’s latest foray into Malaysia will bring a raft of e-commerce opportunities to the country. But there are concerns about its pervasive presence in the country and the possible impact on competition.
Singapore's Ambassador-at-Large Chan Heng Chee. (SPH)

Ambassador Chan Heng Chee: The future of Singapore-China strategic collaboration

Professor Chan Heng Chee, Ambassador-at-Large and Singapore’s former ambassador to the US, addressed the Lianhe Zaobao Singapore-China Forum on 4 December via Zoom. She said that there is still much that Singapore and China can work together on, such as in tightening the nuts and bolts of the recently signed RCEP, enhancing the ASEAN-China FTA, exchanging views on the CPTPP and WTO reform, and facilitating cooperation in the digital sector.
People walk in the tourist area surrounding Houhai Lake during Chinese National Day holidays in Beijing, China, 2 October 2020. (Thomas Peter/Reuters)

What can Singapore learn from China?

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.
China's official app for digital yuan is seen on a mobile phone next to 100-yuan banknotes in this illustration picture taken 16 October 2020. (Florence Lo/REUTERS)

Will China's digital currency accelerate the internationalisation of the RMB?

Some are of the opinion that an e-RMB will encourage the internationalisation of the RMB as a major global currency. NUS academic Duan Jin-Chuan argues that whether the RMB is digitalised or not is not the key issue; internationalisation of the RMB really depends on demand for and attractiveness of the RMB as a trading and value storage tool.
Jack Ma speaking at the Bund Summit in Shanghai. (Weibo)

Jack Ma: Traditional banks are operating with a 'pawn shop' mentality

Days before the listing of his Ant Group on the Hong Kong and Shanghai stock exchanges, Jack Ma at the Bund Summit in Shanghai criticised the existing global financial supervisory system as not fit for China’s purpose as a young, growing economy striving for innovation. Analysts beg to differ, as China’s enormous financial markets already bear great systemic risk. Is regulation and innovation mutually exclusive?