Commercialisation

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.
In an aerial view, shipping containers and a container ship are seen at the Port of Los Angeles on 20 September 2021 near Los Angeles, California. (Mario Tama/AFP)

The truth behind the US’s huge trade deficit

Economics professor Zhang Rui notes that the US’s huge trade deficit cannot be looked upon in isolation from the dominance of the US dollar; when exporting countries hold more US dollars, they are more able to purchase US debt and support the US in issuing national debt and get US dollars to flow back to the US. This suggests that looking beyond the surface of its large trade deficit, the US's fundamentals remain strong and with the advantages it has in the capital account and services trade, there is little chance that its leading position in global trade can be usurped.
A man checks his phone while walking in Lujiazui financial district during sunset in Pudong, Shanghai, China, 13 July 2021. (Aly Song/Reuters)

Kai-Fu Lee: Five ways artificial intelligence will put China ahead

Dr Kai-Fu Lee recently spoke at a summit reviewing the development of artificial intelligence. He gave five predictions about the industrial changes that would be brought about by the combination of artificial intelligence and other new technologies. Lee feels these changes would allow China to lead the world in science and technology in the next 20 years or so. This is the edited version of his speech.
Children play with a basketball in an alley in Beijing, China on 26 June 2021. (Jade Gao/AFP)

Cultural historian: Why do civilisations pass down their cultures?

Cultural historian Cheng Pei-kai remembers an email from a Hong Kong secondary student, who wanted a "substantial and authoritative" answer from him about the relationship between civilisations and their cultures. The 16-year-old had asked: What affects the passing down of cultural traditions? Should culture be passed on in its entirety? What role does commercialisation play?
Some items featured on Mi Crowdfunding. (Screen grabs from Mi Crowdfunding)

China's livestreaming e-commerce: The million dollar business fueling product innovation

Recently, Xinba, one of the biggest influencers on Chinese streaming platform Kuaishou, sold US$300 million worth of goods in a single 12-hour session, in a testament to the enormous pull of livestreaming e-commerce. Research shows that crowdfunded products often rely on livestreaming e-commerce to convey product information and funnel early adopters. Such an ecosystem creates a positive business environment for producing and marketing new products. Technology specialist Yin Ruizhi looks at how live-streaming e-commerce is fast giving China the edge in product innovation.
In this file photo taken on 20 October 2019, people walk in front of a screen at the World Internet Conference (WIC) in Wuzhen, Zhejiang province, China. (Aly Song/File Photo/Reuters)

Beijing's tech conundrum in 2021: How to bolster tech sector while reining in the digital giants

Amid greater efforts at achieving greater self-sufficiency in developing core technologies, China will turn to an erstwhile resource it has depended on — the state — to move forward. But will state-controlled venture capital funds be nimble enough to catch the next wave of tech innovations? And judging by the regulatory clampdown on Ant Group and others in recent months, a key preoccupation of 2021 will remain growing the digital economy while trying to rein in digital giants.
Ke Huanzhang (left) and Liu Thai Ker are veteran urban planners in China and Singapore. (SPH)

Liu Thai Ker and Ke Huanzhang: Urban planners are servants of the city

How do urban planners go about their work and what contributions do they make to the building of liveable cities? Ke Huanzhang, former head of the Beijing Academy of Urban Planning and Design, is all for the seamless melding of a good ecological environment, living facilities, jobs and public services in a city. Liu Thai Ker, the former chief architect and CEO of Singapore’s Housing Development Board, says a good planner needs to have the heart of a humanist, the brain of a scientist, and the eye of an artist. Tan Ying Zhen speaks to the veteran urban planners as part of a series of fireside chats put together to commemorate the 30th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Singapore and China.
A news report on Chinese President Xi Jinping's speech in the city of Shenzhen is shown on a public screen in Hong Kong, 14 October 2020. (Roy Liu/Bloomberg)

Xi's five-year plan for Shenzhen: A hard road ahead?

Shenzhen has grown rapidly over the past 40 years, such that its GDP reached a massive 2.7 trillion RMB in 2019. Just this month, the Chinese government released a five-year plan to make Shenzhen a “pilot demonstration area for socialism with Chinese characteristics”. Amid plans for reforms and new initiatives, EAI academic Yu Hong asks: How much autonomy will Shenzhen have, and what challenges will it face?
A worker collects a package after it was delivered by an automated conveyer belt at a JD.com distribution center in Beijing on 16 July 2020. (Greg Baker/AFP)

China's e-commerce 'big four' locked in cut-throat battle

Media commentator Cai Enze frowns on the beggar-thy-neighbour approach of improving one’s business at a rival’s expense. In his view, big names in China’s internet market — Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent, and JD.com (known as BATJ) — should practise more openness and cooperation rather than rivalry and mutual blocks.