As Southeast Asian countries look for Covid-19 vaccines to protect their populations, two things matter: reliability and availability. For now, China — rather than Western sources — ticks the correct boxes.
Amid the effects of the China-US trade war and the Covid-19 pandemic, global manufacturers are seeing the need to adopt a ”China+1“ strategy by diversifying their supply chains or business operations beyond China. However, moving parts of the supply chain to the Southeast Asian region is not so straightforward. What challenges do they face and how are they overcoming them? Will China's position as the "world's factory" be shaken and how will its economic model be changed?
Research fellow Victor Teo says that Japan’s re-emergence as a weapon exporter is fuelled by desires to increase Japanese capabilities, counteract China’s rise, hedge against possible future strategic abandonment by the US, fund next-generation weapon research, and foster Japan’s global leadership and influence in Southeast Asia. Using its overseas development assistance to the region, it is promoting the transfer of weapon systems, naval vessels and surveillance planes, particularly to Southeast Asian claimant states in the South China Sea. What are the implications of these actions?
The 31 May incident, in which 16 Chinese military planes entered the airspace above Malaysia’s exclusive economic zone in the South China Sea, raises questions about Malaysia's ability to handle such occurrences in the future, says RSIS researcher Wu Shang-Su. He takes a hard look at Malaysia’s airpower capabilities.
The demographic dividend and rapidly developing e-commerce ecosystem in Southeast Asia has attracted many Chinese e-commerce companies to make their foray to the region. However, problems from language to payment and logistics persist. To cope with the changing landscape, platforms are also providing merchants with one-stop services to facilitate their cross-border businesses. In the e-commerce world where everything changes rapidly, platforms and merchants must adapt quickly to survive.
In recent years, China's tech giants such as Alibaba, Tencent and ByteDance have set up regional offices in Singapore. With insights from industry experts, Zaobao senior business correspondent Chew Boon Leong analyses the impact that an influx of Chinese tech companies will have on Singapore. Will it affect Singapore's neutral stance and lead the nation to become a battleground for tech companies from the US and China?
With the pandemic sweeping through India, assistance from its neighbours and beyond has been crucial, not least from its partners in the Quad arrangement. Indian academic Shruti Pandalai says while the Quad is working with ASEAN on vaccine development and delivery during the pandemic, such collaboration can move into other areas such as technology and climate change in the future.
With growing competition and tension between China and the US, one region that China is looking to is Southeast Asia. Many major Chinese companies are expanding their operations into ASEAN countries, using them as manufacturing and assembly bases or springboards to the region. Zaobao's associate foreign news editor Sim Tze Wei examines the possibilities.
The Covid-19 pandemic provides a window of opportunity for China to exert its international leadership and influence. It has managed to turn the crisis into a diplomatic and strategic opportunity in mainland Southeast Asia and elsewhere. Public health diplomacy has become one of the key sources of China’s soft power projection, enhancing China’s image and influence. Cambodia and Laos have been most receptive to China’s public health diplomacy, including its vaccine diplomacy, while Thailand and Myanmar also have welcomed Chinese assistance. But Vietnam has been reluctant to endorse China’s Covid-19 assistance, including receiving Chinese vaccines.