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The Daily Brief for Monday, 23 January 2017

What’s in store for Southeast Asia now that Donald Trump has the keys to the White House? Our contributors look at Vietnam, Cambodia and the Philippines. David Hutt, in Phnom Penh, sees the prospect of deteriorating relations with the West as Cambodia pursues greater economic and strategic co-operation with China. In Vietnam, Helen Clark anticipates that the country’s recently-concluded US$10 billion deal with Exxon Mobil
will likely create new ripples in the contested South China Sea. And from the Philippines, Richard Javad Heydarian writes that ties with the US – which hit a low point as Rodrigo Duterte clashed with Barack Obama on human rights – may be quickly restored if, as is likely, Trump adopts a more pragmatic stance.

Half of all global fintech investments are in Asia, writes Johan Nylander. China in particular is leaving the rest of the world behind when it comes to financial technology, and the mobile payment sector is leading the charge. In a panel discussion in Davos last week, top Chinese and global players discussed the changing financial landscape and the possibilities and threats that lie ahead.

Pepe Escobar, Asia Times columnist-at-large, weighs the likelihood of Donald Trump’s America welcoming Chinese investment and becoming, in effect, part of Xi Jinping’s global New Silk Road. If it’s a trade war the new US president would rather have, writes Pepe, he is likely to find himself on the back foot from day one.

Chinese President Xi Jinping will head a new commission overseeing joint military and civilian development, state media in China have reported. The commission will look at promoting “integrated” modernization, as the country looks to develop a military-industrial complex commensurate with its economic might.

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Kenny Hodgart

Kenny Hodgart is an editor for Asia Times.

Posted inBeijingChina

China Digest for Monday, 23 January 2017

2017 fiscal spending aims to secure people’s livelihood

Fiscal spending for 2017 will focus on securing people’s livelihood, the Ministry of Finance said on Saturday night in a Xinhua news agency report. Central and local finance ministries are required to restructure fiscal expenditure and guide private capital to help improve and guarantee people’s livelihoods, the report added.

More administrative licensing hurdles removed

The State Council has removed 39 more administrative licensing requirements mainly involving enterprises’ operation and production, individual employment and start-ups, a Xinhua report said on Saturday night. Previously, 230 administrative licensing requirements had been removed, the report added.

National anti-graft body to be set up by 2018

A National Supervision Committee is to be set up with units in each province by March 2018, a Caixin report said on Sunday. The committee is part of efforts to establish anti-corruption institutions under the central government, said the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection. In a pilot program, Beijing, Zhejiang and Shanxi have set up units under the committee, with party bosses appointed as directors.

China Railway inks deal to stabilize coal price

China Railway signed a mutual agreement with four coal companies and five power generation enterprises to guarantee annual volume of coal transported, Yicai reported on Sunday evening, citing China Railway officials. The move is said to stabilize coal prices and the national economy.

PBOC to ease cash crunch at banks for Lunar New Year holidays

The People’s Bank of China will provide temporary funding support to major commercial banks to ease to the cash crunch before Lunar New Year holidays, the Securities Daily said. The total amount is expected to reach 600 billion yuan (US$87.25 billion).

Securities and Futures Commission to limit company financing

China’s Securities and Futures Commission will impose measures to limit frequent and big financing of listed companies, the Securities Daily said. Zhang Xiaojun, a spokesman of the Securities and Futures Commission said the move is to stabilize market operations.

US$14.5b internet investment fund to be set up

The Cyberspace Administration together with the Ministry of Finance set up an internet investment fund worth 100 billion yuan (US$ 14.5 billion) to boost development of the sector, Xinhua reported on Sunday afternoon.

Asia Times Financial is now live. Linking accurate news, insightful analysis and local knowledge with the ATF China Bond 50 Index, the world's first benchmark cross sector Chinese Bond Indices. Read ATF now.