Major Taiwanese newspaper China Times recently reported that the world has been focusing on China’s eye-catching, ambitious, One Belt One Road. However, beyond that grand plan, China has been pushing the Digital Silk Road in Southeast Asia. This effort can not only bring more potential business opportunities, but also grab strategic controls, such as international data streams. Without direct national support on both the policy end and the financial end, the Digital Silk Road is relatively “low key,” compared to the One Belt One Road program. However it is pushed by major Chinese technology heavyweights like Huawei, ZTE, Alibaba, and Tencent. All of these vendors have strong government backing. The Chinese technology firms have already unseated earlier leaders in the region such as Samsung, on online critical market segments like e-commerce, car sharing, mobile devices, and financial services. The Chinese reach in Southeast Asia also got heavily into the infrastructure level, including telecommunication and submarine fiber cables. A large amount of strategic information, such as government and financial communications, is flowing through physical channels implemented by Chinese providers. The “China Model” in the digital world is getting more and more popular among regional dictatorships.
Source: China Times, February 21, 2019