Greetings! May I first wish you well as black swans seem to be standing the world on its head.
Even as President Trump is reaching his first 100 days, the world is no wiseron his next move . Notwithstanding his tête à tête with President Xi, US-China relations are far from settled. What is more, the world's liberal order remains under siege. Brexit may well lead to Scoxit. As for China, persistent debt, anti-corruption and slower growth notwithstanding, grand initiatives like the One Belt, One Road and the Pearl River Delta Bay Area are pushing ahead. There are other imponderables including climate change, looming water wars, an increasingly belligerent North Korea, an anxious Taiwan, and Hong Kong's prospects under its first lady Chief Executive.
Some perspective may be gained from the following -
A reportoire of inspirational music, videos, songs and words, There is also a collection in Chinese.
Cross-border M & A propositions
You are welcome to send me propositions on a no-commitment basis initially. Relying on my extensive network of contacts worldwide, I will try to match buy and sell sides and facilitate subsequent transactions. Please limit details to a one-page PDF document, including key financial data, photo images, contact phone numbers and email addresses.
Separately, you are welcome to reach out to my son Terence, a Prince Philip Scholar and Cambridge-trained UK-qualified lawyer-turned-banker. He has over ten years M & A experience in London with Allen & Overy, Deutsche Bank, and Houlihan Lokey. He is now with The Marya Group, a global multi-billion dollar investment group headquartered in the UAE. His personal email address is email@example.com
Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or text my Hong Kong mobile +852 98198987. I can also be reached on Skype at andrew.k.p.leung, LinkedIn at andrewleunginternational, Whatsapp at (852) 98198987, WeChat at Andrewkpleung, Facebook at andrewkinpongleung, and Twitter at @Andrewkpleung
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My postings are regularly uploaded under my three blogs CHINAwatch, Publications and What is New on www.andrewleunginternat ionalconsultants.com A collection of leading China media and research sites can be found under China Links. Please feel free to save my website on your computer, laptop, tablet, Blackberry, iPhone or iPad as a reference resource. If you wish instant access as soon as my postings appear, just click on “Subscribe to this blog’s feed” under RSS Feed on top of the right-hand column of each blog. Select the appropriate Google feed option. It is free of charge. This newsletter is uploaded to my website here. You may save it for reference or reading at leisure and to share it on Facebook, LinkedIn, Whatsapp, Twitter or other social media devices.
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Fellow of the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (FRSA)
Elected Member, Royal Society for Asian Affairs
Visiting Professor, London Metropolitan University Business School
Advisory Board Member, The e-Centre, European Centre for e-Commerce and Internet Law
Advisory Board Member, The Global Analyst, India
Hong Kong Advisory Board Member, Denmark-based Executive Global Network (EGN)
Honorary Adviser, International Institute of Management (IIM)
Global Commercial Agent, Changsha City, China
(The following until 19 May 2010, on permanent relocation back to Hong Kong)
Governing Council Member, King’s College London, UK (2004-2010) Advisory Board Member, China Policy Institute, Nottingham University, UK (2005 -2010) Founding Chairman, China Group, Institute of Directors City Branch, London, UK (2006-2010) Vice Chairman, 48 Group Club, UK (2008-2010) Committee Member of RSA, London Region, UK (2006-2010)
Visiting Professor, Sun Yat-sen University Business School, China (2005-10)
Included in UK's Who's Who since 2002 Awarded the Silver Bauhinia Star (SBS) in the July 2005 Hong Kong Honours List
At the invitation of National Geographic TV, I gave a two-hour recorded interview in Berlin on 23 May, 2016, at their temporary studio at the Robert Bosch Stiftung Building in Berlin, on water conflicts between China and her neighbors, particularly India, which shares the waters from the Tibetan Plateau. It is understood that my interview is to be used, together with other interviews and filming on location, for a four-part National Geographic TV documentary on global water scarcity and related conflicts, to be released worldwide in spring, 2017.
The film, named "Parched - Global Water Wars" was aired on 4 April, 2017 across the United States, with over 86 million paid household subscribers. The film deals mostly with the use of water as a coercive weapon in conflict zones in the Middle East involving ISIS and Israel, including impact on people's displacement. I appeared only briefly towards the last eighth of the film, on the Tibetan Plateau(scroll down to time counter 40:50 to start the relevant section).
My strategic investment talk with the Hong Kong University Graduate Association on 7 March, 2017 - entitled Implications of a Trump Presidency and Shifts in the World Order - Where to put your money in 2017
In Foreign Policy (6 February, 2017), Robert Kagan, Senior Fellow of the Brookings Institution, argues that America must check the assertive, rising powers of Russia and China before it’s too late. Accepting spheres of influence is a recipe for disaster. Click here
His argument is based on the following premises -
(a) that the America-led uni-polar world order including strong ties with US allies remains the only one that works;
(b) that the rising "revisionist" powers of Russia and China will not be satisfied with regional spheres of influence, implying that either or both would seek global dominance;
(c) that China, in particular, may push the United States out of at least East Asia, "not only militarily but politically and economically";
(d) that we are returning to the 19th and 20th centuries when Great Power conflicts for spheres of influence led to global wars; and
(e) that to save the world from a looming WWIII, the United States should build up its military further to restore US hegemony.
Kagan dismisses out-of-hand the viability of Niall Ferguson's "tri-polar world order" jointly led or influenced by the United States, Russia and China with strategic "cooperative rivalry" respecting each other's core interests. He considers such strategic balance unsustainable as both Russia and China are dissatisfied revisionist great powers which are bound to progress from an inch to an ell. Instead, he thinks that the only option is for the United States to redouble her military strength to maintain a US-led world order. This emphasis on military dominance merits a little more thorough think-through.
First, it begs the question whether history inevitably repeats itself. In the Age of the Fourth Industrial Revolution characterized by global interdependence and inter-connectivity, concepts of global hegemony, power exclusivity, and a zero-sum-game mentality may no longer work. For example, why should China push the United States off anywhere economically when American finance, technology, and businesses continue to define the global supply and value chain, much to China's benefit?
Second, Russia has shown relatively limited ambition to achieve dominance beyond her Eurasian "near abroad". Notwithstanding narrower national calculations, she has displayed a more proactive role in maintaining regional peace and stability, as in the case of Syria following years of bloody conflict. Similarly, despite assertiveness in the South China Sea, which are critical sea-lanes central to her economic lifeblood, China continues to defend the global trading system, not to mention the international compact against Climate Change. China has also been fielding the largest peacekeeping contingent among Permanent Members of the UN Security Council. Both rising powers are therefore capable of contributing to the global commons. Unless they are deliberately threatened or provoked militarily, it may be too early to conclude that World War III is inevitable.
Third, the United States military is already by far the strongest in the world, with military expenditure exceeding the rest of the world combined. If this is deployed to coerce Russia or China, both countries are likely and well able to respond. Russia's military remains formidable, including possession of more nuclear warheads than the United States. China's military is no longer a walk-over. Her rapid military modernization and build-up is largely in response to a de facto US encirclement of China's vital economic sea lanes with American military assets, including missile and bomber bases, as described in film-maker John Pilger's new documentary "The Coming War on China". In addition to state-of-the-art inter-continental multi-warhead ballistic nuclear deterrence, China is more than capable of defending core interests in the South China Sea. Such defense includes robust ant-access/area-denial (A2/AD) capabilities both above water (such as mobile anti-ship ballistic missiles (ASBMs)) and under water (such as remote-controlled manoeuvrable sea-mines).
Fourth, any dramatic US military build-up is likely to start a vicious arms race with Russia and China, spreading to many theaters, including space. This would only serve to reinforce their deterrence capabilities, consolidating their positions in a tri-polar world.
Perhaps that's why President Trump seems inclined towards greater rapport with Russia. The recent joint astronaut survival training in Siberia is instructive. America's commercial energy interests in Russia may be part of the reason. So may be calculations for a possible US-Russian detente to balance against China. However, Russia is unlikely to come too close to bed with an fickle nemesis responsible for the collapse of the former USSR. Nor would Russia sacrifice China as her largest energy customer by far, or for that matter, as a strategic hedge against American hegemony.
Perhaps that's also why, despite a worrying initial period of apparent apathy, if not hostility toward China, he has sent a letter to President Xi making amends and holding out an olive branch for constructive, results-based, "win-win" relations.
Ultimately, that is, reality speaks louder than rhetoric.
In an article "The Twilight of the Liberal World Order" (24 January, 2017), a brief for the Brookings Institution, Robert Kagan hits the nail on the head. What matters most is not ISIS. It's the inflexion point of a possible collapse of the liberal world order that has defined global peace and stability since the Second World War.
There is popular anger that American largess as guarantor of the liberal world order has been taken advantage of by "Others". The Trump Presidency shows every sign of abdicating from America's global responsibilities unless compensated by calculated, short-term transactions.
This is feeding the inevitable revisionism of dissatisfied rising powers, which, together with huge historical grievances, are re-asserting themselves to modify the US-dominated world order to suit their own world view and national interests.
All these hark back to the unstable world order prevalent in the late 19th century, eventually leading to two World Wars.
Kagan rightly points out that US global military dominance is best suited to maintain global security. Neither China nor Russia can be a credible substitute.
However, military coercion cannot overturn what may, after all, be the changing tide of history as Western power and influence are beginning to give way to the rising East.
China has been embedded firmly in the world economic order underpinned by the United States. While America is now backing off, China wants to uphold the status quo. From WTO rules to climate change, it seems that most of the world feel unsettled by America's change of course and begin to think that China may be a force for good.
China in the 21st century is no longer the weak China of previous centuries. It is the world's second largest economy, soon to become the largest as the productivity and ingenuity of a fifth of mankind continue to be unleashed.
China's global strength is not the military. Or economic size. It's her economic connectivity. From mobile phones, cars and household goods, almost everything has China embedded, even if the final product is not marked "Made in China". That's why six of the top eight container ports around the world are in China, including Hong Kong. This "centrality" cannot be reversed easily as no other developing country has the manufacturing scale, capacity and global connectivity.
Global connectivity is very much at the heart of the Zeitgeist of the times defined by the world's Fourth Industrial Revolution. Driven by a combination of technologies and powerful integrated cross-border platforms, it is upending business models, labor markets, socio-political matrix, and is reshaping economic, social, cultural, and human environments.
Nothing illustrates the power of internet-economics better than President Trump’s apparent agreement that Jack Ma’s Alibaba internet-driven global business empire could help create a million American jobs by selling US goods and services to China and the rest of Asia, Trump’s China-bashing and protectionist rhetoric notwithstanding.
China is in no position to replace the United States as the guarantor of a new global order. Nor does she wish to do so, knowing her own many limitations. However, a reformed, rising, and more assertive China is sufficient to challenge an American-First world order.
Russia under Putin is also playing her cards deftly. While the United States looked powerless with the Syrian crisis, Russia is now seen as a more effective problem-solver.
The growing global gravitas of these rising powers cannot be deterred by relying only on brute American military dominance.
As President Trump focuses on America First, prioritizing American jobs, profits, and the military, it begs the question whether the world is not being driven towards another historical inflexion point of global instability.