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Asian Drivers

The Asian Drivers Comprise Very Different Actors

Different firms

We have become accustomed to the global agenda being driven by northern firms characterised by private ownership, reflecting the short-term demands of stock-markets and increasingly being held accountable by customers demanding ethical production and trading standards.

Chinese and Indian firms operate in different environments and often display different characteristics. This is partly because

  • Their ownership structures are different; in China’s case, it is often difficult to disentangle private equity from state equity, and central-state from provincial state equity
  • They often have access to cheap capital
  • They are generally less risk averse
  • Their customer base is less demanding of ethical and environmental standards.

Different Governments

Asian Driver governments also reflect different modes of behaviour to those of traditional global-driving governments. For example, in the case of SSA, both China and India governments are concerned with long-term access to raw materials. They provide increasing levels of aid, but without the conditionality associated with Western donors.

Firms and governments act in concert

Western firms and governments tend to act relatively independently of each other. By contrast, both Chinese and India firms operate in an environment in which aid, foreign investment and trade are closely integrated in a strategic outward thrust.

This is particularly true in their involvement in SSA where they are in competition with each other and Western powers for raw materials.