From media companies to hotels and football clubs, the Chinese have gone on a shopping spree in the Czech Republic over the past few years. Hong Kong commentator Chip Tsao notes that the Czech Republic was the first European country to fall in love with China, allowing the latter to acquire large stakes in Czech entities. But now, it seems that the love affair is not so rosy any more. The recent visit of Senate Speaker Miloš Vystrčil to Taiwan is just one chink in the relationship’s armour.
The fan economy is a huge business in China, driven mostly by young women in their 20s. But while these fans are willing to spend money on their idols, some chalk up mountains of debt to feed their passion. Given that the idols are endlessly trotted out on a conveyor belt and few escape the cookie cutter, how long can the fan economy last?
Beijing has pledged financing, materials, technology and manpower to build railroads, hydropower stations and other infrastructure projects in Southeast Asian countries under the BRI. But China continues to face enormous challenges getting projects off the ground in countries that need the investment most. US academic Murray Hiebert examines why.
In recent years, the Mekong subregion has seen a renewed engagement of external powers, particularly the US, Japan, and South Korea, mainly due to the China factor. This re-enmeshment signifies an intense power competition in Southeast Asia, in light of China’s increasing economic and political clout. Thai academic Pongphisoot Busbarat cautions that Southeast Asian states need to send a clear signal to external powers that increasing cooperation with them does not equate to choosing sides.
While farmers in Southeast Asia have benefited from China's growing consumer market, malpractices in the agribusiness sector often result in devastating environmental issues. Hong Kong academic Enze Han examines the situation at corn plantations in Myanmar and banana plantations in Laos to see what can be done to better monitor and regulate foreign entry and practices in these countries.
The US has ended Hong Kong’s preferential treatment, sparking some concerns that Hong Kong may not be able to retain its status as an international financial centre. Zaobao journalist Tai Hing Shing examines whether these worries are valid.
The West has been setting up new rules and regulations targeting China's economic system, which they regard as a non-market economy that could undermine the proper functioning of international trade. These rules and regulations are formulated through international organisations, multilateral and bilateral trade agreements, and even as unilateral domestic laws. However, Chinese academic Zhu Ying says China is not buckling under pressure as its market economy is a mere means for China’s economic development, and not the end goal of its economic system.
Senior military officers from India and China held the latest high-level talks to discuss border tensions along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) on 14 July. The talk which lasted for 15 hours took place at Chushul on the Indian side of the LAC, and contents of the discussion are yet to be made public. Although India and China have had their border disagreements, they are partners economically. Recently, the Indian government has banned 59 Chinese apps on grounds of national security, while Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has deleted his Weibo account. India has also threatened to block Huawei's 5G system. What are the likely consequences? China academic Xu Hongbo examines the issue.