China-ASEAN Monitor

Photo Credit: Straits Times


Economy, Investment and Trade


Chinese investment in Southeast Asia nearly doubles in 1H 2019
(14 August 2019) Chinese investment in Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) projects in Southeast Asia almost doubled to US$11 billion in the first half of 2019, up from US$5.6 billion in the second half of 2018. Most of the inflows in the first half of the year went to Indonesia (US$3.08 billion), Cambodia (US$2.53 billion), Singapore (US$1.91 billion), Vietnam (US$1.58 billion) and the Philippines (US$1.16 billion). Nevertheless, Malaysia, which saw US$440 million in Chinese investment during the same period, remains the largest beneficiary of cumulative BRI contracts since 2013, followed by Indonesia and Singapore. Vietnam remains a bright spot in Southeast Asia this year, as it saw a 200% increase in registered foreign direct investment from mainland China and Hong Kong in the first seven months of 2019.
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Myanmar and China to ink framework agreement on cross-border economic cooperation zone
(15 August 2019) The Myanmar and Chinese governments have reviewed a framework agreement on the establishment of cross-border economic cooperation zones and are getting ready to sign said agreement soon, Myanmar’s commerce minister spokesperson U Khin Maung Lwin told a local news outlet. According to the spokesperson, the framework will include guidelines for the establishment of a bilateral joint committee to implement and manage the proposed cooperation zones, as well as guidelines for investor incentives. The three zones expected to benefit from the agreement are Kachin State’s Kanpiketi township, as well as Shan State’s Laukkai township and Muse township.
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Myanmar’s cross-border trade with China halted by clashes with rebels
(19 August 2019) Myanmar’s border trade with China through the Muse border trade zone has halted due to ongoing clashes in the area and the destruction of bridges on the Mandalay-Muse road. According to a Muse-based trader, the halt in trade has not only impacted exporters, but also other associated businesses such as logistics firms and restaurants. Producers of fishery products, in particular, have suffered heavy losses as they have no choice but to dispose of their goods. Myanmar primarily exports rice, corn, sugar, and the agricultural and marine products to China through the Muse gateway. It imports building materials, machinery, electronics and other raw materials from China. The daily total value of bilateral trade through the Muse gateway is around US$3 million.
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Enterprise Singapore to work with Shanghai accelerator to bring Singaporean tech startups to China
(14 August 2019) Enterprise Singapore and Shanghai-based accelerator XNode launched the first official China-Singapore innovation launchpad on August 14. According to XNode, the zero-equity programme will allow Singapore technology startups to be based in Shanghai for two months where they will receive assistance to help grow and commercialise their solutions. Furthermore, participating companies will gain access to the Chinese market, and have a chance to seek funding at the end of the programme. Likewise, XNode and Enterprise Singapore will then cooperate to help Chinese companies enter the Singapore market starting in November.
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Chinese tech giant Baidu to provide cloud computing services in Singapore
(19 August 2019) Chinese technology giant Baidu announced on August 19 that it has begun to offer cloud computing services in Singapore, with its first few clients being Baidu’s video streaming subsidiaries iQiyi and Do Global. Baidu’s move follows a similar announcement by Huawei in April touting the same. According to Baidu, the company will provide computing, storage, networking, security, database and system management services to both Chinese firms based in Singapore and local enterprises. Baidu was the fourth largest cloud infrastructure earner in China behind Alibaba, Tencent and Amazon in the first quarter of 2019.
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