As Chinese businesses go global with ever more confidence and as Beijing’s diplomatic influence expands in tandem with its growing economic clout there is ever more interest in understanding its activities across the world. Chinese influence in Africa gets a lot of coverage, but Latin America and the Middle East do not seem to get the attention they deserve, although of course it could be I am just looking in the wrong places. Below I count down the best sources of information and analysis on China going global, my favourite websites, blogs and company sites are all reviewed, if I’ve missed anything good drop me a line and I can look at adding it to the list.
Understanding the current state of internal Chinese politics is vital to divining the future of its foreign policy which is why I recommend the China Politics Weekly; it gives a concise summary of policy news from Beijing as well as the movements and meetings of the country’s top leaders, crucially it is based on Chinese language news sources but intrepreted by a long time expert in Chinese politics – Trey McArver.
The Rhodium Group provide what must be the most in depth and comprehensive analysis on Chinese activities in the USA as well as outward M&A from China, charting one of the world’s most important business trends with well crafted and detailed reports. These publications are not for the casual reader, but for those serious about digging into the figures and granular detail of China’s penetration into the US – this is the place to visit.
For me China – Latin America relations remain woefully under reported, but I suspect there is a lot more on the subject in Spanish and Portuguese websites. For those interested in this fantastically new topic, (a few decades ago Sino-Latam relations were fairly non-existent, but now many countries like Brazil have China as their biggest trade partner), a good place to start is the Inter-American Dialogue, a site which covers the region generally but also its relations with China in great detail, particularly attractive and useful is the interactive financial penetration map, which shows how much Beijing has sunk into each country in the region (Venezuela is the biggest recipient).
Silk Road Associates is the consultancy firm started by Ben Simpendorfer, author of “The New Silk Road” an illuminating book describing the rise of Chinese trade and investment across the Middle East and Central Asia, the location of the original Silk Road which connected ancient China and the Roman Empire. The site continues in the tradition of the book providing useful reports such as China’s new “Silk Road Belt Strategy” and “China Shakes up Global Sourcing”. A fantastic resource for anyone interested in Chinese business strategy domestic or international.
China in Africa is a fascinating and much contested subject, there are a number of good sites devoted to a wide topic ( lets not forget there are 54 countries in Africa), my favourite is the podcast friendly Cowries and Rice site, which covers a lot of ground including frequent translations of articles from Chinese as well as covering the big geo-political issues to ones like this local interest story about a Chinese entrepreneur bringing tour groups to Morocco.
China’s environmental woes are well documented, but now these problems are often been exported through polluting factories moving overseas to the likes of Bangladesh and India in search of lower costs. Another issue is the toxic mix of demand for land and natural resources driven by Chinese firms and local elites which often means that people in places like Myanmar and Cambodia are often illegally forced off their homes in order to make way for new developments. For those wanting to keep up with these stories Global Witness provides excellent in depth reporting which exposes these issues to a wider audience, a powerful reminder of the dark side to China’s globalization.