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China

Russia and China: A pragmatic partnership

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As sanctions continue, Sino-Russian relations – in many ways a pragmatic response to Western reproach – have been steadily developing. Russia’s eastward leaning strategy, or its ‘pivot to Asia,’ is largely coming in the form of energy relations and military cooperation with China.

Russian sanctions

US and EU sanctions, an economic reality for the Kremlin since it illegally annexed Crimea, have necessitated government officials to develop ways of bypassing Western financial systems. In doing so, Russia has committed to various financial activities, such as dumping 84% of its US debt (and subsequently tripling its gold reserves), increasing international weapon sales, and initiating contracts with sovereign wealth funds throughout the Middle East. What has Western analysts most worried, however, are the strengthening ties between the Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China (PRC).

Some defence planners and policy analysts insist underlying issues – such as growing Chinese influence in post-Soviet states, the Russian Far East, and the Arctic – will prevent meaningful cooperation between Russia and China. Former Secretary of Defense James Mattis has waved off concerns about the developing Sino-Russian relations given a “natural non-convergence of interest.” While it is true that Beijing and Moscow may hold different worldviews, and opinions about global affairs, pragmatic cooperation in the near-term is likely to continue.

Growing relations, despite questions regarding their longevity, has prompted one Chinese Academic, Su Xiaohui from the Institute of International Studies, to describe Sino-Russian relations as an example for “New Type International Relations.” Built upon shared characteristics of illiberalism, moral latitude, and realpolitik, areas of collaboration to note will include the energy sector and military cooperation.

Energy security

A decade ago, all of Russia’s gas pipelines flowed West. Fast forward to the present and vast oil and gas infrastructure sprawls out toward its neighbour to the East. As a top buyer of Russian energy, joint projects to note include the China…

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Business

Sony to shift smartphone plant to Thailand

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Sony’s share of the smartphone market has fallen sharply in recent years

BEIJING/TOKYO, March 28 (Reuters) – Sony Corp will close its smartphone plant in Beijing in the next few days, a company spokesman said, as the Japanese electronics giant aims to cut costs in the loss-making business.

Sony will shift production to its plant in Thailand in a bid to halve costs and turn the smartphone business profitable in the year from April 2020, the spokesman said on Thursday.

The decision to scale back its smartphone workforce, which could see up to 2,000 of the total 4,000 jobs cut by March 2020, is part of a move to reduce fixed costs in the business, and also includes procurement reform.

Sony’s share of the smartphone market has fallen sharply in recent years — from more than 3% in 2010, according to the research portal Statistica — to less than 1% currently.

It has struggled to compete against leaders Apple, Samsung Electronics and Huawei Technologies, all of which are racing to develop new 5G devices.

Sony’s smartphone business was one of the few weak spots in its otherwise robust earnings, bracing for a loss of 95 billion yen ($863 million) for this financial year. ($1 = 110.1200 yen).

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China

How will Thailand’s election affect China?

China’s investment in Thailand will not be affected much by the result of the general election.

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According to Chang Xiang a researcher at the Thai-Chinese Strategic Research Center at the National Research Council of Thailand, China’s investment in Thailand will not be affected much by the result of the general election.

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Will Asian economies dominate the world in 2050?

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Out of the 10 largest world economies of the world, four will be from Asia with China and India leading the world by 2050, according to the PwC report.

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