Rethinking Transnational Chinese Capitalism and Diplomacy: Reflections on Research Projects in Northern Thailand and their Implications for Singapore



About the Seminar
Precipitated by the rise of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in recent decades, Chinese capitalism has transformed itself with new facades, attracting much interest from politicians, academics, economists and other professionals.  The variegated forms of Chinese transnational entrepreneurship have made their way to Chiang Mai, the cultural capital of Lanna, or Northern Thailand.  Set against a loosely structured milieu with proximal connectivity to PRC Chinese and other developing nationalities, Chiang Mai provides an excellent terrain for the exemplification of the multiplicity, malleability and fluidity of Chinese capitalism bearing implications for public policies and diplomacy.  Based on several research-based projects done in culturally distinctive Chiang Mai, the presenter seeks to provide an overview of transnational Chinese entrepreneurship, economic cultures, smart city, tourism, cultural and citizen diplomacy from both Thai and PRC Chinese perspectives.  In essence, the presenter poses and attempts to answer the question, “What can we learn from Chiang Mai’s experience of transnational Chinese capitalism?”  Drawing from his immersive experience over the past 6 years, the presenter seeks to highlight some lessons for Singapore’s contextual considerations.

About the Speaker

Dr Lee Kian Cheng is a Singaporean serving as a Lecturer with the School of International Affairs, Faculty of Political Science and Public Administration, Chiang Mai University, Thailand.  His academic qualifications include B.Sc (Physics), M.A. (Biblical Studies), M.Div., M.A. (Southeast Asian Studies), Th.M (Asian Christianity) and Ph.D. (Social Sciences).  He teaches Southeast Asian Studies, East Asian Studies, Religions of Asia, International Relations, Political Economy of Asia Pacific, and Seminar on Chinese in SEA.  He is currently researching Chinese business practices, transnational entrepreneurship, cultural and citizen diplomacy, and Thai religious networks.  Dr Lee has served as a military officer with the Singapore Armed Forces.  He is also a board director of Asian Pastoral Institute Ltd., which is based in Singapore.  He currently resides in Chiang Mai but often returns to provide consultancy services in Singapore.

For registration, please fill in this form and email to <> by Wednesday, 18 July 2018.


Jul 19 2018


10:30 am - 12:00 pm


ISEAS Seminar Room 2