Our visiting researcher Dušica Ristivojević just published a paper on Chinese mining activities in Serbia. The Bor mining and smelting complex in eastern Serbia is the country’s largest mining operation and one of its top exporters, employing thousands of miners to extract copper and gold. Following the Serbian Government’s efforts to privatise the former industrial giant RTB Bor (Mining and Smelting Complex Bor), China’s Zijin Mining Group became the owner of 63 per cent of the company’s sites in 2018. While presented as a solution for the region’s social and economic problems, Zijin’s investment has been marred by accelerated environmental destruction, lack of transparency, problematic relations with political elites, manipulation of Serbia’s legal framework, and state repression of protests in the mining region. For more information, please read the paper here.
UH Chinese Studies member Dr. Monique Taylor just published an article entitled “From Alipay to the Digital Yuan: China’s Fintech Revolution” in Asia Paper (Stockholm: Institute for Security and Development Policy). Selective summary below.
- Fintech in China manifests itself in ways that are qualitatively different from its development in Western countries. The unique blend of a mobile-first consumer base, underdeveloped traditional banking services, regulatory freedom, vast economies of scale, the influence of Chinese tech giants, extensive government support, and the enthusiastic embrace of fintech by Chinese consumers, has allowed the fintech industry to grow rapidly and permeate society more extensively in China compared to the West.
- China’s fintech growth, transformed by the launch of Alibaba’s Alipay in 2004, benefitted from supportive government policies and pioneering companies. Tech giants like Alibaba integrated fintech services deeply into expansive digital ecosystems, ensuring widespread adoption. By 2018, China led in global fintech investment and adoption rates surpassing global averages.
- China’s central bank, the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) initiated discussions about a central bank digital currency (CBDC), the digital yuan or e-CNY, as early as 2014. By 2020 pilot programs began in several cities, placing China at the forefront of CBDC development. However, its adoption has been slow; only 20 percent of China’s populace have used it, as most prefer existing mobile payment apps like Alipay. If fully adopted, the digital yuan would offer the PBOC the capacity to monitor and trace all transactions, aiding in combatting financial crimes but also granting the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) unprecedented insight and control over the financial lives of individuals.