Asia’s growing influence hailed at summit

The summit brought together government representatives and business and thought leaders to exchange views and share insights.

Yang Han and Prime Sarmiento

Yang Han and Prime Sarmiento

China Daily


This aerial photo taken on May 11, 2023 shows a railway container distribution center in Qinzhou City, South China's Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region. [Photo/Xinhua]

July 28, 2023

HONG KONG – Greater cooperation will be seen among China, India and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, generating benefits for the surrounding region, a summit was told on Thursday.

“In the global economic and geopolitical order, we will see an increasing pivot to multilateralism. And it is a multilateral collaboration that we hope can build a better, safer and more sustainable world,” said Michael Yeoh, president of the Malaysia-based think tank KSI Strategic Institute for Asia Pacific and chairman of the ASEAN Economic Club.

Speaking at the 6th Asia Economic and Entrepreneurship Summit in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Yeoh said he expects to see a great shift toward China, India and ASEAN and more collaboration among the three economies.

Held in an online and offline format, the one-day summit was organized by the KSI Strategic Institute for Asia Pacific together with the Pacific Basin Economic Council, the ASEAN Economic Club and China Daily Asia Pacific. The theme of this year’s summit was “Powering & Future Proof Asia in the New Multipolar World”.

Hoping that Malaysia will become the fulcrum of China-India-ASEAN cooperation, Yeoh said the country can take advantage of the opportunities that will arise from the cooperation with these major economies.

Joining the summit online, Qu Yingpu, publisher and editor-in-chief of China Daily, said, “Growing in sustainable and green ways has gained global attention.

“In this era of uncertainty, Asia needs to adapt, embrace change, and strive for an economically prosperous and environmentally responsible future,” said Qu. “As the world’s largest regional economy and fastest-growing economic region, Asia is shaping the global scale.”

A prosperous Asia can ultimately serve as a catalyst for global progress, said Qu, who noted that President Xi Jinping had said that “the biggest strength comes from cooperation, and the most effective way is through solidarity”.

China’s investment flow into ASEAN and the Middle East and the rise of the Indian economy offer many opportunities for surrounding economies, said Michael Walsh, CEO of the Pacific Basin Economic Council.

“When we talk about China outbound (investment), we are really talking about the Greater Bay Area … and the growth that it can bring,” said Walsh.

As one of the most developed regions in China, the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area is expected to be built into a world-class cluster.

Walsh said the development of the Greater Bay Area will also bring further wealth and opportunities to economies like Malaysia.

The summit brought together government representatives and business and thought leaders to exchange views and share insights.

In a panel discussion titled “The Green Reset: Future Ready Asia”, Rajah Rasiah, distinguished professor of economics at the Asia-Europe Institute of the University of Malaya in Kuala Lumpur, discussed the emergence of a multipolar system.

Rajah said the move to “de-dollarize”, especially among the BRICS group of emerging economies Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, is “an alternative forced upon (us) by” the United States.

Noting that green technology and green economy are the future trend of the world, Chin Yew Sin, adviser for the Asia-Pacific region of the Global One Belt One Road Association, said that reducing carbon emissions is needed to sustain economic growth.

Chin said China is “really working very hard” to use clean energy sources like solar power and to manufacture electric vehicles.

In another panel discussion on entrepreneurial and business leadership for a new era, Chong Chye Neo, independent director of Bursa Malaysia, the country’s stock exchange, said that organizations need an entrepreneurial mindset, as the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated digitalization.

“Most important, (we need to) understand that the new market, the market of the future, will evolve around millennials and Gen Z,” said Chong, former managing director of IBM Malaysia.

Millennials are those born between 1981 and 1996, while Generation Z is defined as individuals born between 1997 and 2012.

Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar, Malaysia’s Senate president and former law minister, was guest of honor at the summit. He was given the Distinguished Asia Leader Lifetime Achievement Award for 2023.

In a speech after receiving the award, he pledged, in his new role as Senate president, to realize his vision of implementing an independent Parliament as well as complying with a constitutional provision whereby the Cabinet is made accountable to the Parliament.

A presentation of the Asia Pacific Excellence Awards was held at the end of the summit to recognize leading entrepreneurs and experts in the region.

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