Photo Credit: Bangkok Post
Economy, Investment and Trade
Thailand seeks to replicate success of Chinese digital village model
(24 December 2018) Thailand plans to start adopting the Taobao Village model to help local communities generate income through the digital economy, starting with three or four districts in February 2019. According to commerce minister Sontirat Sontijirawong, districts are selected based on their ability to develop community production to meet export opportunities in the global market and their capacity to mobilize people with e-commerce know-how to educate people in the community. Alibaba will also be sending a team to train people in the selected communities, based on Taobao’s experiences in China. The Taobao model, which spans 3,202 villages and 363 towns in China, is seen as a significant driving force behind the development of rural e-commerce in the country. For instance, the first farming village to adopt e-commerce on a large scale under the model has seen over 1,000 households join the digital economy by making furniture and selling finished goods online.
China to invest in Cambodia’s rice facilities
(24 December 2018) China’s Henan Yuguang International Economic and Technical Cooperation Co Ltd (HYIETC) expressed its interest in investing in Cambodia’s rice storage facilities during a recent meeting between HYIETC and Cambodian commerce minister Pan Sorasak. Should the plan come to fruition, the facilities will have the capacity to dry 100,000 tonnes of paddy rice per day, thus boosting Cambodia’s rice exports to 500,000 tonnes per year. According to the Cambodia Rice Federation (CRF), current rice storage facilities have not been able to keep up with the country’s increasing production, adding that the sector can currently produce up to nine million tonnes of paddy rice every year.
Vietnam and China to boost trade cooperation
(21 December 2018) Economic, trade and investment cooperation between China and Vietnam continues to be the highlight of the countries’ bilateral relations, according to Vietnamese deputy foreign affairs minister Le Hoai Trung who was speaking at the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) held in Hanoi recently. Also addressing the forum was BFA head Li Baodong, who called Vietnam “the new economic tiger of Asia”. Trade between Vietnam and China reached US$97 billion in the first 11 months of 2018, a year-on-year increase of 16.5%. The number of Chinese tourists to Vietnam also increased by 27% in this period, attracting an inflow of over 4.5 million visitors. Further, the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) provides that as at the end of November, China has invested in 2,102 projects in Vietnam with a total registered investment of US$13.05 billion.
Chinese and Thai companies to develop Golden Triangle tourist boat service
(20 December 2018) Chinese and Thai companies have inked agreements to develop boat services on the Mekong River to boost tourism in the region. The project aims to connect tourist services and attractions along the Lancang-Mekong River, and allow tourists to view Thailand, Laos and Myanmar in a single day trip. The agreement also includes the creation of a boat transportation service which will connect Chiang Saen port in northern Thailand to Jinghong in China’s Yunnan Province, Luang Prabang in Laos and Kengtung in Myanmar. According to Yunnan Provincial Tourism Investment, the project will help Thailand realize its “five Chiang cities, four countries” vision, which seeks to intensify tourism cooperation between Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Jinghong, Kengtung and Luang Prabang.
Southeast Asian exports to China rise on trade war fears
(24 December 2018) Southeast Asian exports to China have increased as businesses expedite their shipments before the US-China trade war escalates further, according to Nikkei Asian Review. Re-exports of non-oil goods from Singapore increased 9.4% on the year in November to a value of US$14.5 billion, with nearly 30% going to China and Hong Kong. Similarly, Malaysia’s exports rose 17.7% on the year to US$23 billion in October, with shipments to China increasing by 33% as electrical machinery and oil product shipments grew. Analysts caution that this trend of front-loading shipments will likely eat into future demand, possibly causing trade to slow as soon as early 2019.