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See Hinrich Foundation research and researchers featured in the press.
Geopolitics is a long-drawn game. While India stumbled in its responses to the pandemic, it does not mean it is the weakest link in the Quad. For one, firms looking to reduce their dependency on supply chains centered on China might look to relocate to India, where the government have already ramped up initiatives to attract foreign investors. Our report published in March that investigated India's tech manufacturing capabilities are quoted in this Straits Times commentary, as it looks at India's role in countering China's growing influence.
As the US mulls a digital trade agreement to counter China, it faces a key problem: Many countries in Asia don’t want to join any deal seen as challenging Beijing, whose tech giants are deeply entrenched in the region. Still, the US has multiple reasons to take action on data rules. One of which, as explained by Research Fellow Alex Capri, is the clash of values on issues like data privacy, transparency and surveillance. "This could lead to a general splintering of the digital landscape,” said Capri.
China's extraordinary clampdown on Didi has centered on allegations that the ride-hailing company has mishandled sensitive data about its users in China. The focus on Didi and other US-listed Chinese firms indicates that China's tech crackdown has entered a "new stage," according to Research Fellow Alex Capri. "It will become increasingly difficult for Chinese platforms to operate in the world's liberal democratic markets on the one hand, while also trying to negotiate China's tightening domestic controls, on the other hand," Capri said.
Three years after the US and China began a tit-for-tat trade war, the tariffs imposed by the Trump administration remain in place on most Chinese goods, and bilateral tensions have extended beyond trade to encompass a range of geopolitical and human rights issues under US President Joe Biden. “At some point, the US will have no choice but to engage with China on the tough structural issues that have plagued the trade relationship,” said Research Fellow Stephen Olson.
The US and EU agreed to a truce in their near 17-year conflict over aircraft subsidies, but Research Fellow Stephen Olson says to South China Morning Post that there might be limitations on what can actually be accomplished. “What’s really needed is a substantially more stringent WTO subsidies agreement that can address the unique features of China’s economic system...However, there are still differences in opinion among EU member nations on how to deal with China’s trade policy, even though the US is ready for a much tougher stance."
US President Joe Biden's plan to unite Washington's closest allies and take on China was upfront at this year's G7 meeting. "Irreconcilable differences regarding values and growing frictions with China's mercantilist and authoritarian model will continue to drive polarization and competition," says Research Fellow Alex Capri. He added that "values-driven" frameworks from the West around infrastructure development, trade and supply chain networks are "clearly emerging."
A bill aimed at bolstering America’s technological power to counter China has singled out Huawei Technologies Co as a threat and prohibits the Commerce Department from removing it from a trade blacklist. "It has become impossible for US policymakers to separate companies like Huawei from Chinese state-driven initiatives and objectives. It is a paradigm shift…to a kind of selective mercantilism and techno-nationalism," says Research Fellow Alex Capri.
The Biden administration's announcement on the creation of a trade strike force, led by US Trade Representative Katherine Tai, signals a more aggressive stance towards China. Research Fellow Stephen Olson noted the review envisions “a high degree of government involvement” in domestic manufacturing and massive subsidization to private companies.“ Although the US has traditionally had an aversion to industrial policy, many of the recommendations contained in the review certainly look a lot like industrial policy,” said Olson.
Beijing's heavy-handed approach on its global tech champions could backfire by stifling an entrepreneurial spirit that has proven vital to the country's rapid economic rise. "The atmosphere hovering over China's tech landscape has grown increasingly toxic," said Research Fellow Alex Capri. The stepping down of Zhang Yiming, the founder of ByteDance, as CEO of the company proves that "fear trumps ambition if the threat of public humiliation or some worse form of punishment awaits those who challenge the system."
US President Joe Biden has expanded a Trump-era ban on American investment in dozens of Chinese firms that Washington believes are linked to China's military. The new order "moves the world a step closer to strategic decoupling in the global financial sector," said Research Fellow Alex Capri. "It underscores the difficulty that American financial firms are going to have in the future, trying to sort out which of their investments have ties back to the Chinese state."
More American buyers are seeking out made-in-Vietnam goods in a bid to diversify their supply chains, as punitive tariffs placed on China by the US created a financial incentive for American buyers to source products from Vietnam which they might have previously sourced from China. However, the tariffs only accelerated a trend that was already underway, says Research Fellow Stephen Olson in this interview with Vietnam Investment Review.
India's size and tech talent base are a draw to US investors but structural economic shortcomings hold back its potential as an alternative to China. Our paper by Research Fellow Alex Capri on India's tech landscape was quoted in this Straits Times analysis on the country's potential to become the world's next technology hub.