from Asia Unbound

The Digital Silk Road and China’s Technology Influence in Southeast Asia

China's President Xi Jinping is shown on a screen during the World Internet Conference (WIC) in Wuzhen, Zhejiang province, China, on November 23, 2020.
China's President Xi Jinping is shown on a screen during the World Internet Conference (WIC) in Wuzhen, Zhejiang province, China, on November 23, 2020. Aly Song/Reuters

June 10, 2021 1:55 pm (EST)

China's President Xi Jinping is shown on a screen during the World Internet Conference (WIC) in Wuzhen, Zhejiang province, China, on November 23, 2020.
China's President Xi Jinping is shown on a screen during the World Internet Conference (WIC) in Wuzhen, Zhejiang province, China, on November 23, 2020. Aly Song/Reuters
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Dai Mochinaga is a senior researcher at the Keio Research Institute at SFC.

China has expanded its influence over Southeast Asia's technological development through its Digital Silk Road (DSR) initiative, a newer part of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). This paper shows that China utilizes the DSR in Southeast Asia for several reasons. First, the DSR helps implement Beijing's cyberspace principles and norms in other countries. Second, it promotes Chinese investment in certain industries in Southeast Asia, and helps convince other countries to use technology standards common to Chinese firms. Finally, Beijing exerts its influence over Southeast Asia, via the DSR, to help promote its models for data privacy and security on the internet. Despite efforts via the DSR and other avenues to exert influence over Southeast Asian cyberspace, China has not been fully successful in its aims in the region, in part due to local resistance, and in part because Japan, the United States and other actors have responded to Beijing’s efforts with their own proposals for cyberspace, conceived as part of the Free and Open Indo-Pacific strategy.

More on:

Southeast Asia

China

Belt and Road Initiative

For the full paper about the Digital Silk Road and China’s influence in Southeast Asia, see here.

More on:

Southeast Asia

China

Belt and Road Initiative

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