As western countries faltered in the face of coronavirus pandemics and political instability, China quietly ramped up its efforts to create a griphold on global trade. Having established its Belt and Road development strategy a decade earlier, China took advantage of 2020 turbulence to put key alliances in place.
The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, or RCEP, signed in November of that year, sealed East Asia as the undisputed prime hub of geoeconomics. It was the first trade deal to unite Japan, South Korea and China.
Having established regional hegemony, China was now free to pursue another route to global domination; an approach that focused on developing China’s economic, diplomatic, and political influence on a global scale. One Belt, One Road… one leader.
As one senior Chinese official put it, they are less concerned with American or European party politics than whether the western world would accept and respect the rise of China. And rise it will.
Now China has poured more than concrete and built more than ships to expand the Belt and Road; the Digital Silk Road has spearheaded the effort, sweeping like a virus across the globe, with tech giants like Huawei and Ant Group using artificial intelligence, blockchain, and deep data analytics – and innovation at speed – to dominate their industries.
To put it in perspective, Alipay is now more than double the size of Visa and Mastercard put together; and they haven’t stopped expanding, globally. Singles Day generates more turnover than the GDP of Slovenia – in 24 hours!
China’s leaders are famously reserved and difficult to read; but their global ambitions are clear. It’s time for China to rise. And the silk noose is tightening.