Supply chain

People walk past an H&M store in Beijing on 5 April 2021. (Nicolas Asfouri/AFP)

Facing the ire of 1.4 billion Chinese consumers: Multinational companies cottoning on to supply chain risks

Chinese consumers’ boycott of Western fashion brands for their position on cotton sourced from Xinjiang is a sequel to a long-running series of actions against foreign companies. Southeast Asian firms should take note, and act accordingly.
People cross a street under the rain at dusk while a shinkansen N700A series, or high speed bullet train, leaves Tokyo on 21 March 2021. (Charly Triballeau/AFP)

Balancing China: Can Japan continue to be a reliable power in SEA after Abe?

Academic Victor Teo says that Japanese Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide has big shoes to fill as his predecessor Shinzō Abe had made visible and significant achievements on both the domestic and diplomatic fronts. With the Biden administration in place in the US, and a rising China amid a post-pandemic world, how will Suga's Japan engage Southeast Asia? Will he reaffirm the “silent” leadership role that Japan has played in the region through economic and security means? Furthermore, Japan has guided the US in regional matters during Trump's presidency and has been keen to include Southeast Asian countries in the Quad. Can Japan fulfil its security goals without seriously antagonising China?  
People walk with umbrellas in Lujiazui financial district in Pudong, Shanghai, on the day of the opening session of the National People's Congress (NPC), China, 5 March 2021. (Aly Song/Reuters)

Post-Covid-19: Asia will be the beating heart of the world

Amid the gloom, there’s room for optimism in Asia in the post-Covid-19 landscape, says Benjamin Hung, CEO, Asia, Standard Chartered. The pandemic has speeded up structural changes in this growing region’s business landscape, and created greater opportunities which will pave the way for Asia’s strong rebound in 2021 and beyond.
A Molycorp worker holds a handful of rocks containing rare earth elements during a media tour in Mountain Pass, California, U.S., 13 December 2010. (Jacob Kepler/Bloomberg)

Chinese academic: Will China play the rare earth card against the US?

Despite China’s dominance of the rare earth industry, it will not lightly play this card against the US, simply because it knows it is weaker than the US in various areas and the US can well retaliate. Economics professor Zhu Ying looks at rare earths, the weapon of last resort in China’s defence against the US.
A general view shows the ArtScience Museum (left) against the backdrop of the city skyline in Singapore on 28 January 2021. (Roslan Rahman/AFP)

Singapore's prominent role in China's trade strategy

After taking a hit in early 2020 due to the pandemic, Singapore-China trade quickly rebounded and looks set to be in healthy territory in 2021. China’s increasing focus on regional trade agreements and industrial chains will give an added push. Academics Li Wenlong and Zhang Shiming give their take on what is in store.
This photo taken on 11 December 2020 shows tourists looking at an illuminated ice sculpture at the Changchun ice and snow grand world in Changchun, Jilin province, China. (STR/AFP)

A multipolar world order is good for us all

Zheng Weibin asserts that the US will soon be stepping back into an international arena that is much changed. The US cannot hope to regain a unipolar dominance, if it arguably ever had it. Rather, a multipolarity ruled by regional pockets of issues-based interests is taking shape, starting in Asia.
A man visits a Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation (SMIC) booth, at China International Semiconductor Expo, in Shanghai, China, 14 October 2020. (Aly Song/Reuters)

Chinese companies drawn to chip-making like bees to honey

Amid international supply chain restrictions that have stalled China’s chip manufacturing industry, Chinese companies are heeding the country’s clarion call to quickly skill up and help China achieve self-reliance in the field. With all and sundry throwing their hats into the ring, it seems that the country’s currently counting more on enthusiasm, rather than expertise, to make it happen. Will this mean more haste, less speed?
People wearing face masks as a preventive measure against the Covid-19 coronavirus commute during rush hour in Beijing on 15 October 2020. (Nicolas Asfouri/AFP)

Why only China will maintain positive growth this year

Chinese financial commentator Tan Haojun looks at what China has done right to quickly recover after the pandemic, and what makes international financial institutions and analysts confident about its economy.
People work in a rice field of Runguo Agriculture Development Company during a media tour organised by the local government in Zhenjiang, in China's eastern Jiangsu province on 13 October 2020. (Hector Retamal/AFP)

Pandemic, floods, locusts and shrinking farming population: Will China suffer a food crisis?

China feeds about 20% of the global population, but its overall self-sufficiency in food seems to be dropping. Even though it is self-sufficient in some staples such as wheat, rice and corn, it is less so in others. In fact, it is the largest importer of food in the world. Recent calls by President Xi Jinping to cut food wastage has people thinking that political reasons aside, China’s food supply is at risk. This risk could yet be amplified by changes in land policies, rural-urban migration and more.