Chinese-funded projects along the Mekong River are increasingly facing pushback from governments and environmentalists in the region as water levels drop due to drought and the construction of large dams. In an attempt to address these concerns, Vietnam plans to add the Mekong River to ASEAN's agenda this year, Nikkei reports.
Browse our analysis section for news and articles on topics such as China's Belt and Road Initiative (OBOR), the Competing Visions of Japan, India, and other regional powers, and the stakes for U.S. policy.
Environmental and anti-globalization groups in Belgium are seeking to halt the construction of a logistics hub by Chinese company Alibaba, claiming the $80 million project will increase pollution and create only low-quality jobs, Nikkei reports.
The U.S.-based chip maker Intel intends to be the market leader for 5G base station chips by 2021, teaming up with Ericsson and other key partners to compete with Chinese tech-giant Huawei, Nikkei reports.
Huawei says it currently has 91 commercial 5G contracts worldwide, surpassing its chief competitor Ericsson's 79 contracts. The company also announced plans to invest $20 million in 5G innovation projects in the UK, Nikkei reports.
Telecommunications companies across India are protesting the timing of an upcoming 5G auction, claiming that prices are set too high given the sector's recent financial difficulties; however, New Delhi believes a delay will hinder the country's digital economy, Nikkei reports.
French train maker Alstom is set to take over a railway unit of Canada's Bombardier in an $8.2 billion deal aimed at giving it the scale to better compete with China's CRRC, which continues to advance in Africa and Asia through the BRI, Nikkei reports.
Thailand's 5G development is moving forward with domestic mobile operators. The nation's largest telecommunications firm recently acquired several frequency bands key to providing high-speed internet and internet of things technologies, Nikkei reports.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo promised "a million dollars of assistance to increase trade and connectivity between Uzbekistan and Afghanistan," during a visit to Tashkent, Uzbekistan. Meanwhile, China's presence in Central Asia is growing, in part due to heavy investment in the region's infrastructure development through its Belt and Road Initiative, Nikkei reports.
Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has crafted a China policy that mixes caution with engagement, for example, expanding the U.S.-Japan security alliance while also jointly funding Belt and Road projects, Nikkei reports.
As Chinese investment projects in the Philippines face scrutiny due to their potential security and environmental impacts, President Duterte has warned courts against challenging Chinese-backed projects. Until mid-2019, no Chinese infrastructure projects in the Philippines had started construction, Nikkei reports.
The shutdown of Wuhan, a strategic transport hub, in response to the coronavirus outbreak could negatively impact China's Belt and Road Initiative, Nikkei reports.
Beijing and Naypyitaw have agreed to a $9 billion rail link between Muse and Mandalay, Nikkei reports.
New legislation will allow Japan to support the construction of liquefied natural gas terminals across Asia, positioning Tokyo to take advantage of a rapidly growing LNG market, Nikkei reports.
Concerns about U.S. restrictions on advanced technology have brought Russia and China together, with the two countries creating a $1 billion joint investment fund for high-tech projects. Huawei is a particularly active AI player in Russia and has announced plans to build an “AI ecosystem” in the country, Nikkei reports.
Fears of the new coronavirus spreading to Pakistan have delayed projects along the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor in Lahore and South Punjab, including work on the Orange Line Metro Train, Nikkei reports.
The European Union has decided to endorse limits on "high risk" suppliers of 5G equipment, a decision largely targeted at the Chinese technology company Huawei, Nikkei reports.
China is constructing three new airports in Cambodia as part of a $2 billion investment under the Belt and Road Initiative, Nikkei reports.
The UK has announced that it will allow the limited use of Huawei equipment in its 5G network despite pressure from the U.S. to exclude the Chinese tech company due to security concerns, Nikkei reports.
The U.K. government is expected to announce this week whether it will ban Chinese telecom equipment maker Huawei from its 5G infrastructure, a decision that could sway other U.S. allies weighing the same question, Nikkei reports.
Chinese companies are constructing new factories in Southeast Asia in an effort to avoid U.S. tariffs, with Chinese direct investment in Thailand increasing fivefold in 2019.
Afghanistan recently began shipping goods through Pakistan's Gwadar Port, part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, in a development experts believe may increase Kabul's participation in China's Belt and Road Initiative, Nikkei reports.
Considering the risk of a potential U.S. ban over security concerns, Huawei is prioritizing inventory for its most strategic 4G and 5G routers, switches and base stations and stockpiling on supplies, Nikkei reports.
China and Myanmar signed 33 agreements during President Xi's visit to the Southeast Asian country, including a deal for the construction of a deep-sea port at Kyaukphyu Special Economic Zone, which will give China access to the Indian Ocean, Nikkei reports.
Chinese president Xi Jinping's visit to Myanmar is expected to coincide with the announcement of the Belt and Road projects there, despite waning popularity of the initiative due to mounting debt levels, Nikkei reports.
In a recent survey by the ISEAS-Yusof Institute, 79 percent of ASEAN experts surveyed think that China is the most influential economic power in the region, but the majority are not confident in the Belt and Road Initiative, Nikkei reports.
Russia is courting India to join the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), a move that would boost bilateral economic ties and enhance the trade bloc's international status, Nikkei reports.
In the wake of rising regional tensions due to conflict with Iran, Pakistan is working to maintain stability and advance progress on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, Nikkei reports.
Malaysia's AirAsia Group says it will co-found a tech training facility with California-based Google, as it pushes to become a technology-led company, Nikkei writes.
Indonesia is seeking further Japanese investment in the Natuna Islands following tensions with Beijing over a standoff between Chinese and Indonesian vessels in neighboring waters, Nikkei reports.
Chinese fintech companies with established expertise in digital payments are hoping to escape stiff competition at home by expanding into Southeast Asia, where the digital economy is expected to triple in size over the next five years, Nikkei reports.
Pakistan’s Minister for Economic Affairs says that phase two of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor, which began January 1, will address the trade deficit caused by phase one with an expanded free trade agreement and an increased focus on industrialization and socio-economic development, Nikkei reports.
India recently announced plans to invest $1.4 trillion in infrastructure over the next five years as part of a fiscal stimulus package designed to counteract slowing economic growth, Nikkei reports.
Alternative infrastructure investment initiatives led by Japan, India, and Australia indicate that China’s Belt and Road Initiative is likely to face increased pressure in 2020, Nikkei reports.
China recently announced plans to complete its Beidou satellite-based positioning system by June. The navigational system is key to the development of 5G technology and already provides services to about 120 countries, many of which are part of Beijing's Belt and Road Initiative, Nikkei reports.
Laos has approved 14 Special Economic Zones (SEZs) backed by Bejing as part of China's Belt and Road Initiative in a bid to boost the economy, however, many observers are concerned about the country's mounting debt to China, Nikkei reports.
Philippine Navy officials are trying to block Chinese involvement in the construction of a strategically located airport after a consortium led by the state-owned China Communications Construction Company was the sole bidder for the project, Nikkei reports.
President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev is looking to carry out projects with Japan worth over $6 billion to establish closer bilateral relations in areas such as power generation and agriculture, Nikkei reports.
Malaysia has reinstated a consortium led by state-owned China Railway Engineering Corporation as the master developer of the Bandar Malaysia project, with the adjusted agreement requiring a larger deposit and a shorter payment term. The mixed development is expected to attract major multinationals, including Alibaba and Huawei, Nikkei reports.
China has exported AI technology to over 60 countries, some of which have concerning human rights records, raising concerns among some countries that China may be "exporting authoritarianism," Nikkei reports.
In order to accomplish a nationwide 5G rollout by the first half of 2020, Malaysia is looking to Chinese and Japanese telecommunications companies to supply the needed technology and expertise. Proposals are currently dominated by Huawei, and Malaysian officials have affirmed the country's willingness to work with the controversial Chinese firm, Nikkei reports.
China has completed a new island off the coast of Colombo, a $1.4 billion project funded entirely by Chinese investment. Sri Lanka is set to vote on legislation that, if passed, would make the island a special economic zone in an attempt to attract more foreign investment, Nikkei reports.
According to Fitch Solutions, Tokyo-backed projects in Southeast Asia have topped $367 billion, outspending China and making Japan the top provider of infrastructure and development aid in the region, Nikkei reports.
China Harbor Engineering, a subsidiary of China Communications Construction Co. with controversial links to China's island-building in the South China Sea and a highway bribery scandal in Bangladesh, has won a $1 billion contract for a 360-hectares land reclamation project in Manila, Nikkei reports.
The Chinese Communist Party’s Central Office has ordered all government offices and public institutions to remove foreign computer equipment and software within three years. The move is part of the government's broader campaign to increase reliance on domestic technology, Nikkei reports.
Amid rising concern about Chinese technology companies, German legislators are challenging a government proposal that would allow the use of Huawei equipment in the country's 5G network, Nikkei reports.
A U.S. firm and Australian shipbuilder have bid on the Philippines' largest shipyard in Subic Bay near the South China Sea, a project which has also attracted Chinese interest, Nikkei reports. The shipyard is located in an area that once hosted the largest overseas U.S. defense facility.
Indonesia is in talks with Japan and the U.S. to establish a sovereign wealth fund for infrastructure and other development projects. The fund will help cover the estimated $33 billion needed to develop the country's new capital in East Kalimantan, Nikkei reports.
Beijing has signed 20 new agreements with Nepal for infrastructure development under its Belt and Road Initiative, but the recent leak of a document suggesting that road expansion could result in the loss of hundreds of acres of land along Nepal's border with China has sparked protests, Nikkei reports.
In an effort to reduce traffic congestion, Jakarta recently opened service on the Indonesian capital's first light rail transit line, a key project in Indonesian President Joko Widodo's infrastructure modernization plans, which also include an intercity metro and China-funded high-speed railway between Jakarta and Bandung, Nikkei reports.