China’s Mega-projects in Myanmar: What Next?
About the Seminar
China’s investments in Myanmar has generated a great deal of attention in recent years. Its investments in Myanmar peaked in fiscal year 2010-2011 and declined sharply in the following two years. The turning point was the suspension of the Myitsone hydropower project in September 2011 that coincided with Myanmar’s internal political transition. Since then, Chinese investors, mainly state-owned enterprises, have had to adjust their practices and adapt to the post-transition environment. Project companies have strengthened their public relations outreach and ties with the local media, and paid more attention to corporate social responsibility. On its part, the Chinese government tightened supervision on overseas investments and called for more stringent risk assessments. The thrust now appears to be on protecting existing investments while refraining from new mega-projects in Myanmar. Under the NLD-led government, China and Myanmar have agreed to introduce a version 2.0 of mega-projects such as the Kyauphyu Deep-water Port, the China-Myanmar Railway and the Border Economic Cooperation Zone under the China-Myanmar Economic Corridor. In implementing these projects, China has shown more deliberateness and prudence, partly due to lessons drawn from the Myitsone dam project, and partly due to the upcoming 2020 general election.
About the Speaker
Zhu Xianghui is Visiting Fellow with the Regional Strategic and Political Studies Programme at the ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute in Singapore. He is also Associate Professor with the Institute of Myanmar Studies, Yunnan University, China. His main research interest are China-Myanmar relations and Myanmar’s ethnic issues. He has published and edited a number of books on Myanmar’s political transition and nationalist movements.
Zhu Xianghui was educated at Peking University in China with a Ph.D. in Burmese language and literature. Before embarking on his academic career, he worked for China-Myanmar Oil and Gas Pipelines Company and was in the Public Affairs Section of the Chinese Embassy in Myanmar.