The Biggest Change since 2012 which Business did not Realise: The Dominant Role of the Party

In the stars webinar with Drew THOMPSON, Visiting Senior Research Fellow, Centre on Asia and Globalisation, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore, we talked about global disruptions and the implications for business. Some key take-aways in a nutshell:

  1. China is adapting to significant societal pushbacks. Key challenges are:
    – Inability of the central government to control the actions and behaviours of individual cadres at the local level
    – Vaccination rate is very low
    – Effectiveness of Chinese vaccines is not as good as the Western one
    – The healthcare system has resisted effective reforms
    – Xi faces a real dilemma: suppress the protests or ease the restrictions
  2. The biggest change since 2012 which business did not realise: the dominant role of the party in all roles of society, economy, politics, and government. The party’s priority is political security, not economic development.
  3. We have at least 10 more years of Xi ahead of us. The lack of leaders of the next generation and the lack of a succession planning are major political risks.
  4. Xi is a potential change agent. If incapacitated, several outcomes are possible, including chaos and regionalism.
  5. Drew is not optimistic about the US-China relationship which has not fundamentally improved.
  6. Asia in 2023? Many best- and worst-case scenarios possible. Some dramatic changes are possible such as Japan losing confidence in the US and developing its own nuclear devices. The same is true for Taiwan. There is a real risk of nuclear proliferation in the region.
  7. Another scenario could be that China and ASEAN come together regarding the South China Sea.

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