I’m travelling on Thursday to attend a workshop at the Southeast Asian Research Centre of the City University of Hong Kong on “Chinese Investments in Southeast Asia.’ This is the abstract of the paper I will be giving:
Cranes among Chickens: Chinese Investment in Mainland Southeast Asia
Resentment is reported to be growing in various parts of mainland Southeast Asia as Chinese capital remakes the business and physical environment. Contract workers involved with building physical infrastructure remain in Laos and Myanmar to establish their own businesses and plans for new and large-scale communities appear to threaten the societal status quo. Large-scale Chinese organizations construct large projects which will direct resources derived from outside the area directly to China, with the intervening territory simply unwanted land to be abridged as quickly as possible. As infrastructure is built, local entrepreneurial businesses are rendered redundant as new opportunities emerge for those merchants who can mobilise economies of scope and scale and who tend to arrive from another place. There are few areas in which local consumers or economic actors can feel a connection with the products of Chinese investment and so no sense of brand or organisational loyalty. Conflict is reported in Vietnam and suppression of news from northern Laos hides other potential flashpoints from view. There is an important role for the Chinese state and the organisations that help enact its policies in mainland Southeast Asia to identify potential sources of conflict and take necessary steps to ensure harmonious relations.
I’m not sure what the publishing set up will be but if anyone desperately wants a copy of the paper as it stands, then please let me know.