APAC MONDAYS

GEOPOLITICAL RISK+GLOBAL MARKETS

APAC | GEOPOLITICAL RISK

China is trying to turn itself into a country of 19 super-regions The planned city clusters are far larger than any others around the world -The Economist

Chinese leaders ‘absolutely confused’ by Trump’s demands on trade Beyond the feints and jabs, Trump has raised so many different issues that it’s hard to know what his priorities might really be. -Politico

To see why Trump’s tariffs have hit a Chinese nerve, read history From foreigners running the country’s lucrative customs service, to Mao’s ‘self-reliance’, to finally joining the WTO; terms of trade have long shaped China’s relationship with the West -SCMP

“Knowledge of the past as an aid to the understanding of the future, which in the course of human things most resemble if it does not reflect it” -Thucydides

Pentagon says U.S. will ‘indefinitely’ halt ‘select’ military exercises with South Korea as talks with North progress -The Japan Times

Vietnam Mass Protests Expose Hanoi’s China Dilemma The protests highlight the difficulties in embracing Chinese investment while defending Vietnamese independence. -The Diplomat

Indonesia’s Order to Foreign Workers: Learn the Language A decree by President Joko Widodo that is set to take effect this month will simplify Indonesia’s procedures for issuing work permits to foreigners, which are often hampered by delays, arbitrary denials and revocations, not to mention compulsory bribes to civil servants just to stamp the paperwork. -NYT

APAC | MARKETS IMPACT + OPPORTUNITY

GLOBAL BUSINESS

America Inc. may want to revise China growth plans Sino-American trade tensions could hit U.S. stocks from another angle. Chinese state media published commentary this week suggesting that heavyweights doing business in the People’s Republic, including Intel and Caterpillar, may be targeted for retaliation. The ability to flog them financially is constrained by domestic economic realities, but expansion plans could be curbed. -Reuters

China Won't Target U.S. Companies in Trade Dispute, SCMP Says -Bloomberg

China faces a blockchain dilemma Here’s the other side of the coin, however. While the Chinese government is limited by their lack of access to information, it also benefits from opacity and control. In fact, opacity is central to its system. The ruling communist party has used their monopoly over information channels to tell their version of history. -Tech-in-Asia

US tech companies return to Taiwan as China ties sour Microsoft, Amazon and Google seek cutting-edge products for IoT -Nikkei

Cash-Rich Japan Offers a Haven From U.S. Zombies Its companies have remained immune to the lure of easy credit. To be sure, a risk-averse Japan Inc. is hardly cause for excitement. But … When the music stops, cash-rich and conservative Japan may prove the safest of havens. -Bloomberg

Airbnb exodus spawns business boom in Japan Shut out by new law, home-shares are quickly turning into meeting rooms -Nikkei

India speeds up environmental approval process for major industrial projects India’s industrial sector grew at 4.3 percent last year but growth slowed from 4.6 percent a year ago. The speedier approvals come as some big-ticket infrastructure projects face delays, including the proposed $100 billion Delhi-Mumbai industrial corridor and the Japan-backed $17 billion bullet train. -The Japan Times

Meet the 50 top-funded startups and tech companies in India -Tech in Asia

Singapore Airlines CEO sees risk to cargo yields beyond trade dispute -The Straits Times

GLOBAL MACRO

China’s central bank frees up US$100 billion in funding as trade war looms PBOC cuts share of deposits banks must set aside to boost support for small businesses and ailing state firms -SCMP

Xiaomi puts indefinite delay on CDRs in blow to China's plans for tech listings Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi Corp (IPO-XMGP.HK) said on Saturday there is no time frame for a mainland share offering, casting doubt on Beijing’s efforts to lure foreign-listed Chinese tech giants back home. -Reuters 

Japan triples Chinese bond investment as market opens Hong Kong conduit makes mainland securities more accessible Japanese investors put 235.4 billion yen ($2.14 billion) into mainland bonds at the end of last year, jumping from 83.3 billion yen in late 2016, according to Finance Ministry data. That outpaced the investment growth in Chinese securities overall, which more than doubled to 524.1 billion yen at the end of last year from 240.2 billion yen at the end of 2016. -Nikkei

FSA orders virtual coin exchanges to fight laundering Japan's finance regulator orders cryptocurrency exchanges to improve anti-money laundering measures -The Japan Times

Global Gas King Crowned as China Tops Japan Amid Clean-Air Drive The nation’s soaring natural gas demand has been a boon for the global liquefied natural gas market. -Bloomberg

Why China can’t count on Brazil to fill the soybean gap in its trade battle with the US Gustavo Oliveira writes that timing, huge demand and structural bottlenecks diminish Brazil’s reliability as a backup soybean supplier to China -SCMP