Dr. Jean-Marc F. Blanchard's blog

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The Digital Silk Road, part III-A Scan of Effects Shows Mixed Signals

This blog is the last of three on China’s Digital Silk Road (DSR) initiative. The 1st gave an overview of the DSR while the 2nd probed some of DSR's features in terms of foreign direct investment (FDI) and contracting. This blog considers two potential political effects of the DSR, its effect on participant country relations with China and its effect on participant country political regimes and civil liberties. Regarding the former, there are concerns China’s DSR technologies will ensnare countries partaking of the DSR.

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The Digital Silk Road, part II-Dialing Down the Hyperbole

My last blog supplied a basic overview of China’s Digital Silk Road (DSR) initiative, part of its larger Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). This blog represents a first cut at detailing the DSR. Unfortunately, as with the BRI, it is quite challenging to do so well. Reasons include the non-existence of a public, official list of DSR projects, the misclassification of technology-related foreign direct investment (FDI) in areas such as smartphone manufacturing and semiconductor packing and testing operations as DSR-space FDI even though they have nothing to do with connectivity, and the unwillingness of participant countries to disclose the terms of their contracting deals with China.

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The Digital Silk Road, part I-Cloudy Networked World Calling

China’s Digital Silk Road (DSR), which is part of the larger Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), came into being in 2015 and accelerated after 2017. Broadly speaking, the DSR promotes connectivity in the information and communication technology (ICT) space and encompasses projects relating to artificial intelligence, cloud computing, fintech (e-payments), smart and safe cities, and telecommunications. It is not entirely clear how many countries are participating in the DSR, though it has been reported that 16 countries have signed DSR Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) with China.

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Circling around China’s Dual Circulation Policy, part III-Implications for China’s Outward FDI

This piece complements two earlier pieces that, respectively, overviewed China’s Dual Circulation System (DSC) and pondered its implications for inward foreign direct investment (FDI) into China. It specifically focuses on the potential ramifications of the DCS for Chinese outward FDI (OFDI). Prima facie one logically might expect the DCS to moderate Chinese OFDI since its goals include inter alia enhancing China’s indigenous capabilities, insulating China from an occasionally hostile external environment, and increasing domestic consumption and production. In actuality, though, these and other DCS aims do not support the premise the DCS will result in Chinese money shunning the outside world.

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Circling around China’s Dual Circulation Policy, part II-Implications for Inward FDI

In my December blog, I overviewed China’s Dual Circulation System (DCS). To reiterate, foreign multinational corporations (MNCs) are concerned about the DCS’s emphasis on self-sufficiency, indigenous technology, and insulating China against the international market’s vagaries. Foreign MNCs, though, also see opportunities to satiate anticipated growth in domestic demand and the needs of a presumptively wealthier population, facilitate China’s efforts to promote high-quality development through inter alia the provision of “technology-focused products and services” (as one Michelin China CEO put it), and to supply the materials needed for China’s ramped up domestic infrastructure and production.

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Circling around China’s Dual Circulation Policy, part I-Ins and Outs

In May 2020, China’s two-track “dual circulation” strategy (DSC) came to light. An internal circulation track—the “mainstay”—encompasses domestic consumption and production. An external circulation track entails more opportunities for foreign direct investment (FDI) and efforts to expand China’s external connections.

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Small Waves Precede Tidal Waves: American Sanctions on Chinese Companies involved in South China Sea Island Building and their Larger Ramifications

The United States (US) Department of Commerce recently blacklisted two dozen Chinese firms which it said, “played a ‘role in helping the Chinese military construct and militarize the internationally condemned artificial islands in the South China Sea.’” Companies listed included Guangzhou Haige Communications Group, China Shipbuilding Group, and China Communications Construction Co. (CCCC). The US State Department later accused CCCC and its subsidiaries of “‘corruption, predatory financing, environmental destruction and other abuses.’”

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Dashing for the Door Due to Dealing in Data or Singapore Sling

The recent passage of the National Security Law for Hong Kong has raised all kinds of quandaries for high-technology and other companies, especially those that deal in data. This is so because the new law makes it easier for government authorities to access data, restrict the kinds of content that are published, and control the transmission of data. In the event of noncompliance with (vague and likely fluid) regulations, firms risk significant fines, imprisonment, or other sanctions. There has been a mild reaction by big firms such as Apple, Facebook, and Google, but they are not located in Hong Kong per se and their longer-term plans are unclear. Businesses actually located in Hong Kong face a serious quandary.

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Dancing while Watching the Clock: Tik Tok’s Woes in India

ByteDance is facing up to USD $6 billion in losses from the Indian government’s decision to ban almost five dozen Chinese mobile phone apps including its Tik Tok and Helo.

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Run Bank Run? The Deposits Foreign Financial Firms Made in China Market (Still) are Not Liabilities

How fast sentiments can change! The much vaunted opening of China’s financial sector to foreign banking, insurance, and securities firms has become a source of angst with observers now wondering if foreign financial players such as Allianz, Citigroup, JPMorgan, Nomura, and UBS will get caught up, directly or indirectly, in China-United States (US) tensions relating to geopolitics, trade, foreign direct investment (FDI), portfolio investment, Covid-19, and the changed status of Hong Kong. Potentially at risk are billions of dollars in FDI such companies have spent to acquire majority stakes in or establish securities joint ventures (JVs), build up their China insurance operations, and begin mutual fund operations.

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