15th November 2020 saw the signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), an historic free-trade deal between China and 14 Asia-Pacific countries. It was signed over a video link, after eight years of negotiations.
They say that politics, and certainly that of the geo-political variety, weaves itself into every walk of life. Well, it seems that this is no more true than in the major announcement the other week of the possible US$40 billion acquisition of Arm by Nvidia. It probably doesn’t take a tech genius nor economics whizz to figure out how far-reaching the implications of this could potentially be.
Taiwan appears to be turning US-China trade tensions to its own advantage. While the US has been imposing restrictions on any exchanges of high technology with China, a complex web of supply chains, also buffeted by the COVID-19 crisis, has been seeking to adjust. Taiwan is now proposing that its own high-tech base might be the solution.
Now plunged into absolute crisis by the outbreak of coronavirus Covid-19, Wuhan, capital of Hubei Province, is an astonishing dynamo at the heart of China’s push for high-tech development, building directly on the city’s growth into an established industrial base. Home to 11 million, this huge manufacturing centre is frequently dubbed ‘the Chicago of the East’, and ‘four times the size of London’.