China’s Investment in ASEAN – Belt & Road and Supply Chain Shifts


About the Seminar

China’s “dream” of an expansive Belt & Road transport network has been facing setbacks. The US-China trade war is hurting China’s growth and tightening purse strings for regional investment. China is facing a “debt trap” backlash from some developing countries, including Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Malaysia. As a result, China’s Belt & Road Initiative (BRI) investments slowed in 2018, sharply in the second half. However, there are signs of recovery in BRI investments in ASEAN in the first half of 2019, as China’s investment and construction contracts nearly doubled to $11 billion (from $5.6 billion in the second half of 2018). ASEAN will likely see a stronger recovery in China’s BRI flows, as some other regions push back against China investments.

The US-China trade war is also pushing Chinese firms to shift their manufacturing facilities to escape US tariffs. ASEAN is benefiting from the reconfiguration of the supply chain, with FDI registrations and approvals from Greater China (incl. HK) soaring especially in Vietnam, Thailand and the Philippines. Actual China FDI inflows are strong in Malaysia, Indonesia, and Philippines. China is also raising its stake in ASEAN’s tech sector as it sees tighter restrictions in the US and EU. Singapore and Indonesia continue to secure the lion share in tech investment, but funds are also flowing into other ASEAN countries.

About the Speakers

Lee Ju Ye is an economist at Maybank Kim Eng’s research team covering Singapore and Thailand, and overall ASEAN macro thematics such as US-China trade war impact on ASEAN, digital disruption, and tourism trends in ASEAN. She joined the firm in 2017 after completing her Masters in Economics at the University of Cambridge. Ju Ye started her career as an economist in the Ministry of Trade and Industry of Singapore, followed by a year in Morgan Stanley’s ASEAN economics research team. Ju Ye also holds a Bachelor of Social Sciences in Economics from the National University of Singapore.

Linda Liu is an economist at Maybank Kim Eng, covering Vietnam as well as ASEAN macro thematics research. Prior to joining the firm in January 2019, she worked as an economist at the Singapore Land Transport Authority, responsible for economic analysis and policy research into individual travel behaviour, mode choices and market structure of the transport sector. Linda holds a Master of Philosophy in Economics from the University of Cambridge and a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from University of Virginia.


For registration, please click here. Registration closes on 2 October 2019.


Oct 04 2019


10:00 am - 11:30 am


ISEAS Seminar Room 2