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).

China is nowadays even compared with former colonial powers when it comes to its economic rise in Africa. Journalist Howard French, the author of China’s Second Continent, takes a step back and looks at how it all started in the 1960s for Worldpoliticsreview, and how it relates to South Africa.

Transparency is not a natural thing for China, not domestically nor internationally. But African states can ask China for more transparency, argues journalist Howard French, author China’s Second Continent: How a Million Migrants are Building a New Empire in Africa, to Inkstone.

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.

A market of four billion users is waiting to be tapped into and William Bao Bean, managing director of the Shanghai-based SOSV, explains how his MOX is helping startups to do so. With a solid background in banking, telecom and the internet, William saw how mobile applications disrupted traditional industries, and offer new possibilities for companies to enter developing markets.