2019 is ending and we have some interesting trends to observe. In the China-related speakers’ business, we saw an encouraging expansion beyond the usual suspects: the US, Western Europe and developed parts of Asia. This year we dealt more than ever with Latin America, South Africa, Eastern Europe and last night Ian Johnson returned from a successful trip to Abu Dhabi, where he spoke for the Emirates Center For Strategic Studies and Research (ECSSR).
One of the major global initiatives by China was the massive Belt and Road Initiative, reviving the old silk roads. In May 2017 a major international conference showed what our experts were already expecting: now all roads lead to China. Even countries who suffered from difficult relations with China, including both Koreas, appeared in Beijing.Larger than the former Marshall Plan after the Second World War, OBOR is going to redefine global trade.
The EU competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager banned the merger of European rail giants. They presented the merger as the way to stop competition from China. China expert Harry Broadman commends Vestager for her much debated ban as, Broadman argues, size is not the way to fight Chinese companies. Innovation is, he writes in Gulf News.
Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) in China differ very much from their colleagues in Europe and the US, says China marketing veteran Ashley Dudarenok, author of Digital China: Working with Bloggers, Influencers and KOLs to Vultlab. Western companies certainly need a China-strategy to enter this very different market, Ashley argues.
Fintech expert Sara Hsu explains at her YouTube channel why China is eager to speed up the development of its 5G network, and what it means for the rest of the world. How do US and European concerns on cybersecurity relate to China’s development, ZTE, and Huawei, and how does it relates to you.
Consumers from China are spending less, and certainly luxury brands in the US will feel the downturn at least in the short run, says luxury consumer expert Ben Cavender to AP. Tighter visa restrictions under President Donald Trump also make it harder for Chinese shoppers to get to the United States.
Western media have been portraying China’s massive investment program One Belt, One Road (OBOR) or Belt Road Initiative (BRI) as a colonial trick to put developing countries into debt, and then seize their assets. Business analyst Andy Mok sees debt problems as a normal business risk in highly complicated investments on infrastructure, he tells at the state-owned CGTN.
Concerns have been raised about the quality of the deals closed under the wide One Belt, One Road program. Economist Arthur Kroeber, author of China’s Economy: What Everyone Needs to Know, admits that some deals could be “wacky”, he tells the New York Times.“It certainly is a very capacious arena for opportunists, that’s for sure,” Mr. Kroeber added.
Eyes were on Sofia, Bulgaria, last week, as China’s prime minister Li Keqiang tries to improve relations with Eastern Europe. Economist Sara Hsu puts Li’s efforts into perspective as both trade and investments between China and Eastern Europe have been stagnant, compared to other countries in the One-Belt, One-Road initiative, she tells at CGTN. Also: the contagious relations with the EU.