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India pushes back against China’s economic influence



East Asia Forum


The intensifying competition between India and China for influence in South Asia highlights the increasing importance of foreign investment in shaping the region. India, in order to establish itself as a key player in South Asia, will need to leverage foreign aid and investments. China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has filled the investment gap in South Asia, funding various infrastructure projects in countries such as Sri Lanka, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. India, recognizing the need to counter BRI projects, aims to accelerate its own infrastructure projects. The growing synergy between India and the US can contribute to regional development and stability, especially in light of China’s assertiveness.

Author: Radhey Tambi, Centre for Air Power Studies

As the competition between India and China for influence in South Asia intensifies, foreign investment becomes more important in shaping regional outcomes. This discussion is particularly relevant as China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) continues to expand, reaching the borders of almost every South Asian country. India will need to leverage foreign aid and investments to achieve its goal of becoming a leading player in South Asia.

South Asia remains one of the least integrated regions in the world. Since its announcement in 2013, the BRI has significantly filled this investment vacuum. China has funded the Hambantota port and Port City Colombo in Sri Lanka, the trans-Himalayan corridor and the China–Pakistan Economic Corridor, and sealed an oil extraction deal with Afghanistan and a free trade agreement with Male.

Beijing has also capitalised on the development gap along the Line of Actual Control — the effective border between India and China — by developing villages and a new highway. China’s BRI has created dependency among South Asian countries by attaching conditionality to its aid. This could potentially serve Beijing’s military interests in the future.

This development has spurred India to accelerate its infrastructure projects in the region. Indian policymakers recognise the need to counter BRI projects to safeguard regional stability and prevent further erosion of India’s strategic space.

New Delhi enjoys civilisational and historical linkages rooted in shared culture, norms and tradition. Any developmental vacuum filled by an outside power that disrespects sovereignty will inevitably bite back. The economic crisis in Pakistan and Sri Lanka which embraced the BRI with great gusto is a glaring example. South Asia needs development, but not at the price of pushing the region into dependencies.

To this end, the growing synergy in India–US ties can foster infrastructural growth in the region, especially when Washington is engaging with smaller South Asian states to enhance its Indo-Pacific strategy. During her visit to South Asia, the US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs announced that the United States would spend more than US$1 billion over the next five years on clean energy, electrification and small women-owned businesses in Nepal.

On the security front, the United States and Bangladesh have passed a draft agreement on the General Security of Military Information Agreement. But this requires Washington to accommodate and work in consonance with India, especially regarding China in South Asia. Managing China’s ambitious rise in India’s immediate neighbourhood where it is seen as bullying and coercing weaker states in the garb of development must be a priority.

India’s ability to provide nearly US$4 billion of aid to Sri Lanka demonstrates its economic regional potential. As India continues to hold a prominent position on the global stage, the world looks to it to take on a larger economic role.

India must combine diplomatic efforts with massive development…

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The Latest Updates on China’s Visa-Free Policies



China has fully reopened its borders, allowing international tourism to recover. Visa-free travel policies are reinstated, and visa fees for foreign travelers will be reduced by 25% from December 11, 2023, to December 31, 2024. China and Singapore are also pursuing a 30-day visa-free travel arrangement.

China has fully reopened its borders, promising recovery of international tourism and travel. Many of the visa-free travel policies that were in place prior to the pandemic have therefore come back into effect, enabling people from a wide range of countries to visit

UPDATE (December 8, 2023): On December 8, 2023, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs released the Notice on Temporary Reduction of Fees for Applying Visa to China. According to this notice, during the period from December 11, 2023, to December 31, 2024, China shall cut visa fees by 25 percent across the board for foreign travelers. For more details, please consult with your local Chinese embassy or consulate.

UPDATE (December 7, 2023): China and Singapore are seeking to establish a mutual 30-day visa-free travel arrangement to boost people exchanges between the two countries, according to Reuters. At the time of writing, no further details have been released regarding the timeline or the eligibility, requirement, and application procedures of this new arrangement. Click here for more information regarding this mutual 30-day visa-free travel between China and Singapore. 

This article is republished from China Briefing. Read the rest of the original article.

China Briefing is written and produced by Dezan Shira & Associates. The practice assists foreign investors into China and has done since 1992 through offices in Beijing, Tianjin, Dalian, Qingdao, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Ningbo, Suzhou, Guangzhou, Dongguan, Zhongshan, Shenzhen, and Hong Kong. Please contact the firm for assistance in China at

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Analysis of UK Investments in China for 2023: Evaluating Deals, Values, M&A, and Investments



British Government underwent reshuffle with pro-China David Cameron as Foreign Minister. Possible mild rapprochement with Beijing. Analysis of UK investments in China this year reveals potential trends. Report includes unique Q1-Q3 data and predicts outlook for 2024.

By Chris Devonshire-Ellis & Henry Tillman   

With a reshuffle in the British Government and ex-Prime Minister – and generally pro-China politician David Cameron now as the UK’s Foreign Minister, there have been early signs of a potential mild rapprochement in the British governments overall attitude towards Beijing.

But before people get carried away, we can look at what investments the UK has made into China this year – as investments made while anti-China politics have tended to be the norm are typically indicative of stronger trends. In this report I include unique data that has not previously been made public, and examine the Q1-Q3 investment trends to see what may lie ahead for 2024.

This article is republished from China Briefing. Read the rest of the original article.

China Briefing is written and produced by Dezan Shira & Associates. The practice assists foreign investors into China and has done since 1992 through offices in Beijing, Tianjin, Dalian, Qingdao, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Ningbo, Suzhou, Guangzhou, Dongguan, Zhongshan, Shenzhen, and Hong Kong. Please contact the firm for assistance in China at

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Ratings agency cuts China’s credit outlook



Financially strapped local governments and state-owned enterprises pose a risk to China’s future economic growth, the ratings agency Moody’s said today in a report downgrading the country’s credit outlook from stable to negative.

Growing evidence suggests that the central government will be required to shore up the debt-laden entities, creating “broad downside risks to China’s fiscal, economic and institutional strength,” Moody’s said.

Local governments are thought to have accumulated trillions of dollars of debt due to spending during the COVID pandemic and a loss of income due to a troubled real estate market.

Despite the challenges, Moody’s maintained China’s overall credit rating of A1, which it describes as low-risk though not the safest category of investment. Moody’s said the rating reflects its belief in the country’s “financial and institutional resources to manage the transition in an orderly fashion.”

“Its economy’s vast size and robust, albeit slowing, potential growth rate, support its high shock absorption capacity,” Moody’s said. 

Even so, the outlook downgrade signals some concern about China’s future creditworthiness.

In a statement, China’s Foreign Ministry said it was disappointed in the ratings change and that Moody’s concerns about its growth and financial stability were “unnecessary.” 

In recent years, through the continuous efforts of relevant departments and local governments, China has established a system to prevent and resolve the risks of local government debt,” the ministry said. “The trend of disorderly and illegal borrowing by local governments has been initially curbed, and positive results have been achieved in the disposal of local government debt.”

An employee works at a steel plant in Huaian, in China’s eastern Jiangsu province, Dec. 3, 2023. (AFP)

Moody’s projects China’s annual growth rate will be 4% in 2024 and 2025 but average 3.8% from 2026 to 2030, at which time it might drop again to 3.5%. 

Derek Scissors, the chief economist at China Beige Book, a firm that analyzes China’s economy for investors, said in an email that the downgrade was to be expected.

“It’s a recognition of long-standing conditions, not a new development,” said Scissors, who is also a senior fellow at the free-market think tank American Enterprise Institute in Washington. “I think growth will be faster than Moody’s thinks in 2024 and decelerate more than they think after that.”

Fees from local land sales account for nearly 40% of the revenue to local and regional governments. But China’s real-estate sector has been hit hard by overbuilding. One giant, Evergrande, defaulted under massive debt last year, triggering a broader real estate crisis.

Moody’s report said that “the downsizing of the property sector is a major structural shift in China’s growth drivers which is ongoing and could represent a more significant drag to China’s overall economic growth rate than currently assessed.”

Edited by Tara McKelvey

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