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THE ASIAN DOOR: The silent revolution of the digital economy. Águeda Parra.

The United States and China have been fighting a commercial war for a long time in the economic field without apparent winners or losers yet. Diplomacy is playing an important role in the game of alliances in Asia Pacific, where Washington has seen its leadership and influence reduced in recent years. However, the most growing rivalry is seen in the silent digital revolution that is placing China a few steps behind the United States, reducing the distance that separated them just a decade ago.

In the words of John Chambers, director of Cisco System, “At least 40% of all businesses will die in the next ten years if they cannot imagine how to change their entire business model to accommodate new technologies.” And not only they must transform themselves so as not to have an imminent expiration date, but adapting to the digital universe allows companies to have less rigid production processes, making them more competitive. China is taking advantage of it to reduce its differences with the major powers, thanks to the fact it does not have the burden of highly structured business processes. China is jumping into the digital environment in a more agile way and with greater capacity to start competing more easily in the global ecosystem within a globalized environment.

In the physical world, a dissatisfied customer can tell 6 people, while in the digital world it can reach up to 6,000 friends, according to Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon. This principle is followed by the main digital platforms in China, the so-called BAT (Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent), the ones that with their star applications are redesigning the model of digital economy in China. So much so, that the search engine par excellence in the Asian giant is Baidu, the first Chinese company listed in the NASDAQ 100 Index. It has a market share in the country of 75.1%, compared to the 1.4% that Google has. In the field of e-Commerce, the reference in China is Tmall, owned by Alibaba, with a 56.6% share, whereas Amazon represents only 0.8% of the Chinese market. In the field of social networks, WeChat, owned by Tencent, with 1 billion active users, exercises the leadership. This is a universe Facebook cannot compete with, having just 54 million users in China, according to the report 2017 Digital Economy Compass by Statista.

The transformation of the digital environment is causing 4 Chinese tech titans to appear in the Top 15 of major digital platforms, Alibaba (5), Tencent (6), Baidu (8), and JD.com (10), in a classification that worldwide continue to lead the US companies Apple (1), Google (2), Amazon (3) and Facebook (4), according to the aforementioned report. However, China has in its favour the immense population of the country that represents the great growth potential of online services. With an Internet penetration in China that reaches 50% of the population, about 700 million people can find in online services the means to meet their daily needs. In the case of the United States, the situation is quite different, since Internet penetration reaches 77% of the population, and only 59 million people still do not enjoy online services, according to the Statista study.

The stereotype of unicorns, private investment technology startups that have a value of more than $1 billion, follows the same dynamic as the digital economy as a whole. In this decade, it is more possible that companies with a value of more than $1 billion are Chinese or American, as was the case of 31 out of the 40 companies created during 2016, mostly related to new technologies. In this digital revolution, Europe seems to be falling behind and far from China and the United States, not only in the creation of startups, but also in digital spending calculated as a percentage of total household consumption per capita. At this point, China is in the Top 1 with 10.6% in 2016, much higher than that registered by Europe (5%) and the United States (4.5%).

Among the markets analysed by Statista in its report are the eServices, highlighting the distribution of food as the most dynamic market, with an overall annual profit growth of 21% between 2016-2021, similar to the one registered in the United States, with an 19% increase in the next five years. The eTravel market is another example of the markets that will register the most significant growth globally, almost doubling the revenues in 2021 to reach around one trillion dollars, mainly driven by the United States, which will grow by 7.4%, while China with an increase of 17.9% will not be enough to overcome the American power in this area. The study also indicates that China will dominate the online luxury market worldwide with a turnover that can reach more than $285 billion in 2021. The Asian giant, as dragon of the FinTech, leads a market that has expected to double its revenues in this period, registering growths of 30.2% between 2016 and 2021, according to the abovementioned report.

However, in the Chinese digital ecosystem, payment for advertising follows an inverse trend. WeChat incorporated payment campaigns in 2015, and today they only represent 15-20% of Tencent’s revenues, compared to 70% for Facebook. However, according to the forecast, the market will double its income between 2016 and 2021. The situation is likely to change in the next five years. How long will the digital economy revolution in China continue to seem silent?

 (Traducción: Isabel Gacho Carmona)

亚洲门:数字经济的无声革命。安吉黛 – Águeda Parra

美国和中国长期以来一直在经济领域上进行商业战争,而没有明显的胜负之分。外交对亚太地区非常重要,华盛顿近年来在该地区的领导力和影响力有所减弱。但最激烈的竞争是无声的数字革命,它使中国落后于美国,并将它们减少隔开十年的距离。

正如思科系统公司总监约翰钱伯斯 (John Chambers)说:“如果不改变整个商业模式以适应新技术,至少有40%的企业将在未来的十年内死亡。”为了不失败,企业必须进行改革,减少生产过程的僵化程度,提高竞争力。中国正在利用这一优势来减少与大国的分歧,并在全球化的世界中更加轻松地竞争。

根据亚马逊创始人兼首席执行官杰夫贝佐斯(Jeff Bezos)的说法,在现实世界中,一个不满意的客户可以告诉6个人,而在数字世界中,他可以接触6,000个朋友。中国主要的数字平台(百度,阿里巴巴和腾讯)在应用中正在重新设计中国的数字经济模式,遵循这一原则。这么多,这家亚洲巨头的卓越搜索引擎是百度,这是纳斯达克100指数中首家上市的中国公司,该公司在该国的市场份额为75.1%,而谷歌为1.4%。在电子商务领域,中国的领导者是阿里巴巴拥有的天猫,占56.6%的份额,而亚马逊仅占中国市场的0.8%。根据2017Statista的报告,在社交网络领域,由腾讯拥有的微信占据了10亿活跃用户,脸书无法与之竞争,在中国拥有5400万用户。

数字环境的转型速度正在导致4家中国技术巨头出现在主要数字平台的前15名中,阿里巴巴(5),腾讯(6),百度(8)和京东(10)。这种分类依然由美国公司苹果(1),谷歌(2),亚马逊(3)和脸书(4)领导。但中国这个国家的庞大人口有利。这是在线服务的巨大增长潜力。随着中国互联网普及率达到50%的人口,仍有大约7亿人能够在线服务中找到满足日常需求的手段。根据Statista的报告,就美国而言,情况大不相同,因为互联网普及率达到77%,而只有5900万人仍然不享受在线服务。中国的数字经济革命会保持沉默多久?

(Traducción: Isabel Gacho Carmona)

INTERREGNUM: Three summits, three questions. Fernando Delage

In less than a week, three different meetings have shown the end of an era in Asia (and in Europe). The G-7 meeting in Canada, the summit between the president of the United States and the North Korean leader in Singapore, and the annual forum of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in Qingdao (China), reveal the accelerated transition towards a new regional and global order.

In Charlevoix, by refusing to sign the joint statement with its G-7 partners, Trump explicitly rejected the basic pillars of the post-war international order. Moreover, he has not hesitated to challenge his partners by imposing new trade tariffs. The question was imposed: can we continue talking about a Western political community?

The contrast with the treatment given by Trump to Kim Jong-un only two days later could not be greater. “We have an extraordinary relationship ahead of us”, American president said about Kim, with whom he hopes to establish formal diplomatic relations soon. His avowed intention to abandon the US military presence in South Korea ended up aggravating the concern of his Asian allies, already surprised by what happened in Canada.

Trump’s words mark the effective end of a war that began just 68 years ago – on June 25, 1950, when North Korea invaded the South – and that has been the determining factor of Asia’s strategic balance. It is important to keep in mind that the Korean War was the decisive turning point in beginning of the Cold War, and -through the famous document NSC68- the start of the implementation of the policy of American containment. The support of Beijing and Moscow to Pyongyang made the conflict a central front against communism. The implosion of the Soviet Union several decades later solved the ideological competition, but the Western structures designed to compete with the rival powers did not disappear: NATO, far from dissolving, expanded, as the West also increased its economic relations with China, facilitating its ascent.

A second question is therefore inevitable: what will happen with the order of the Cold War in Asia when its last vestige -the Korean War- definitely passes into History? When the president of the United States seems to feel more comfortable with the North Korean dictator than with his European allies, can his Asian partners continue believing in the guarantee of security that Washington has offered them since the end of the Second World War?

China and Russia attend with undisguised satisfaction to this rapid disintegration of the liberal order. While the West loses strength as a bloc, Eurasia consolidates as a strategic space. This has been highlighted by the first summit of the SCO in which India and Pakistan have participated as new partners, and to which Iran was invited as the next candidate for accession. The cohesion of the group should not be overestimated, but the contrast is significant, especially when China replaces the United States as the main defender of a multilateral system. Self-absorbed in their unilateralist preferences, Washington does not propose an alternative order to the dismantling of the post-war order, but what about Europe? This is the third question incited by the events of the week: what will the European Union do when the transatlantic relationship loses steam and its interests are directly affected by the geopolitical reconfiguration of Eurasia? (Traducción: Isabel Gacho Carmona)

INTERREGNUM:三次峰会,三个问题。 费尔南多德拉格 Fernando Delage

在不到一周的时间,三个不同的会议表明,在亚洲(和欧洲)一个时代的结束。七国集团在加拿大,美国总统和北韩领导人在新加坡和上海合作组织(SCO)在中国青岛的年度论坛的峰会上,揭示了加速过渡到新的区域和全球秩序。

 

在加国魁北克查尔瓦克,通过拒绝签署七国集团公报,特朗普明确拒绝了战后国际秩序的基本支柱。此外,他还通过征收新的贸易关税来挑战其合作伙伴。问题是:我们能否继续谈论西方政治共同体?

 

与特朗普对金正恩的待遇形成鲜明对比。 “我们之前有着非凡的关系” 美国总统对金说,他希望很快与他建立正式的外交关系。 放弃美国在韩国的军事存在的意图加剧了其亚洲盟友的担忧,已经对加拿大发生的事情感到惊讶。特朗普的话标志着68年前开始的战争的结束 – 即1950年6月25日,当时朝鲜入侵南方 – 这已成为亚洲战略平衡的决定因素。回想一下,朝鲜战争是冷战诞生和美国遏制政策开始的决定性转折点。由于北京和莫斯科对平壤的支持,冲突是反对共产主义的中心战线。几十年后苏联的内爆解决了意识形态的竞争,但旨在与竞争对手竞争的西方结构并没有消失:北约扩大,西方增加了与中国的经济关系,促进了它的崛起。

 

因此,第二个问题是不可避免的:当朝鲜战争在历史上明确下降时,亚洲冷战的秩序是什么? 当美国总统似乎对朝鲜独裁者比他的欧洲盟友感到更舒服时. 美国的亚洲伙伴能否继续相信自第二次世界大战结束以来华盛顿为他们提供的安全保障?

 

中国和俄罗斯欢迎自由秩序迅速瓦解。但是西方作为一个集团失去了力量,但欧亚大陆却成为一个战略性的地方。上海合作组织首次峰会突出了这一点,印度和巴基斯坦作为新的合作伙伴参加了此次会议,并邀请了伊朗。中国取代美国成为多边体系的主要捍卫者。华盛顿专注于单边主义,不提出替代秩序,但欧洲呢? 这是第三个问题: 在这种情况下,欧盟会做些什么?(Traducción: Isabel Gacho Carmona)

Evento: Alicia García Herrero 艾西亚 女士: El siglo de China: consecuencias para Europa. Isabel Gacho Carmona

El 21 de junio tuvo lugar en Madrid el I Foro Internacional: China, ¿La potencia del siglo XXI? Fue una jornada organizada, entre otros, por Cátedra China y marcada por un interesante debate sobre el papel de China en el nuevo orden internacional. Alicia García Herrero, en su ponencia, reflexiona sobre este tema y sus consecuencias para Europa.

La ponente, ante la pregunta “¿Es china la potencia del siglo XXI?” contesta con un sí rotundo “pero en términos económicos”, apunta. “Yo soy economista”. “Sin embargo, todavía muchos americanos y europeos ven el crecimiento chino como una burbuja que terminará explotando”. La economista Jefe para Asia-Pacífico en NATIXIS, Miembro Senior de BRUEGEL y Profesora Adjunta en la Universidad de Ciencia y Tecnología de Hong Kong asegura que, aunque en EEUU se ha roto el velo de la ignorancia respecto al ascenso del gigante asiático, todavía cuesta aceptar que su rol en el mundo puede cambiar, “ningún hegemón quiere perder su silla”.

El próximo 6 de julio Estados Unidos se propone aplicar aranceles a 1.100 productos chinos, sobre todo tecnológicos, por un valor de 34.000 millones de dólares. Esta guerra comercial no es la primera contienda. Antes de ella, las inversiones o los visados fueron el campo de batalla. The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), Agencia que tiene la tarea de revisar fusiones extranjeras, adquisiciones y otras inversiones extranjeras para preservar la seguridad nacional y que en el pasado frenó muchas inversiones europeas, en la actualidad reprime en su mayoría inversiones chinas, sobre todo en sectores tecnológicos, como Huawei.

El riesgo que supone el ascenso de China, aunque según García Herrero no se ha entendido en toda su magnitud desde EEUU, se empezó a vislumbrar en la era Obama, en una Cumbre de APEC. En cualquier caso, el objetivo de EEUU es, o debería ser, frenar el ascenso tecnológico de China, no solo reducir el déficit comercial. “Puedes comprar un Boeing y desmontarlo, pero eso no basta para poder producirlo”. Por el momento, China cuenta con tecnologías con las que EEUU no dispone, como el social scoring, pero en capacidades tecnológicas tan importantes como los semiconductores sigue por detrás. Esto nos indica que no tiene porqué ser tarde para parar a China. Aunque el régimen de Pekín es frágil (basa su legitimidad en la prosperidad económica en detrimento de derechos civiles y políticos), para García Herrero el de Washington es todavía más frágil. “No es la fortaleza de China, es la debilidad de EEUU. El hegemón ha perdido el norte”. “Es una cuestión de fuerza relativa. EEUU está usando instrumentos erróneos”. Voces tan influyentes como la de Larry Summers han quitado peso al ascenso tecnológico chino, y esto solo puede favorecerlo.

Pero… y Europa, ¿qué? Las inversiones chinas en Europa casi doblan a las norteamericanas, y, de estas, el 70% son en empresas de tecnología industrial. García Herrero, fuertemente europeísta, defiende que Europa puede y debe jugar bien su papel de bisagra. EEUU teme a China, aunque no lo diga abiertamente, y Europa juega un papel más parecido al de súbdito que al de socio en la alianza transatlántica. ¿Sabemos qué queremos para nuestro futuro? No es tarde para Europa, nuestro PIB todavía es superior al chino. Hacia donde se mueva Europa desequilibrará la balanza. No hay por qué anclarse en el pasado porque este es el siglo de China. Ante quienes hablan de Europa como el extremo occidental del mundo, relegado a la periferia del nuevo orden, García Herrero contesta “el mundo es redondo, no hay extremos”.