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Two Sides of a Belt-and-Road Global Economy

Have you thought about trading in Chinese RMB instead of in U.S. Dollars? Well, more and more people are doing just that.

In recent decades, China’s“Belt and Road Initiative” (BRI) has helped in boosting economies especially in developing countries. Its swift implementation and continuing success is building up the Asian superpower as the world’s economic mecca.

However, the impact of their strict and often-criticised policies has also affected free trade and the global economy. It brings one to think, should the BRI come into full bloom—what could be the implications?

While the world has fairly endured trade wars and domination by superpower market players, the BRI is presenting some problematic challenges.

What are the benefits—and consequences—of a China-centric digital global economy?

Two sides of the coin

China’s big plan has indeed improved development in emerging economies especially in various industries. In recent years, they have amassed nearly $25 billion worth of green bonds for infrastructure investments in the energy sector alone.

It brings about much-needed aid to regions such as Africa, Southeast Asia, the Near East, and South America. Many “BRI economies” such as Nepal, Afghanistan, and Laos are weak in trade due to inadequate infrastructure and other gaps that China could fill in.

China is also one of the leaders in developing 5G technology.

The success of China’s projects could lead to the hastened pace of development in these countries. This could facilitate a huge step towards digitisation. Enabling local businesses to take advantage of digital marketing, banking, and automation could further improve their economies for globalisation.

However, the Belt-and-Road Initiative also brings uncertainties.

Their recent trade standoff with Australia has brought to light the negative implications of China’s ever-growing economic assertiveness. Accusing Australia of political manipulation during a recent World Health Assembly meeting regarding Covid-19, the Communist nation slapped Australian barley exporters with heavy tariffs.

A report from Bloomberg suggested China is readying a “hit list” of products from Australia to sanction with stricter quality checks, tighter customs clearances, and even consumer boycotts.

For example, the Chinese parliament (CCP)’s approach to censorship is stirring up doubts in some entrepreneurs in the digital marketing landscape. The CCP is also notable for strict surveillance of not just its citizens, but business activities as well.

On one side, censorship can be beneficial, in the sense of quelling illegal content and negative values. Racism, hate speech, and false information can drive societies into chaos.

However, it can also take away rights enjoyed by citizens regardless of their nationalities. Free speech, dissent, expressions of interest and opinion are some of the usual victims of tight censorship.

Much of capitalism is built on the freedoms of people to do free trade and marketing. Human to human connection is needed to establish effective business relations. If this is impeded, it will greatly affect the way people do business even in the digital realm.

Ramifications of a “directed” market

Back in 2011, there were rumours of China planning to buy Facebook shares. Back then, the news wasn’t that significant—Facebook had about 845 million users.

China’s foresight on its development was spot-on, though.

The social media giant is currently the world’s biggest social platform, hosting more than 2.6 billion users as of the 1st quarter of 2020.

Strangely enough, China chose to expand its social network, Weibo. If China had decision-making powers by holding majority shares of Facebook, imagine how different content marketing will be.

The CCP has already given its citizens a lot of leeway in the advent of globalisation. Today the Chinese can already engage in e-sports, international trading, and other activities. This will most likely expand, making some countries even more dependent on having China as a trade partner.

The biggest question of a China-led world will most likely revolve around policies. Most especially, digital ones.

Economic powers in the West and elsewhere in the world have established frameworks on data security. On top of these compliance measures, many country-specific laws will pose challenges for China to handle.

Will China negotiate to ease up on these restrictions and insert their own conditions?

Conclusion

It’s no secret that China has been silently reshaping the world through “One Belt, One Road.”

Their seemingly immovable policies however are the biggest obstacle for marketing and trading with most countries. China adjusting to the world will benefit not only its citizens but for consumers everywhere too. Marketing firms will gladly accept the influx of new audiences and buyers.

China can become the centrepiece of the digital economy—if only they can be flexible enough.

#DigitalMarketing #beltandroad #GlobalEconomy #ContentMarketing


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