The Debate

Is Asia the New Silicon Valley?

Recent Features

The Debate

Is Asia the New Silicon Valley?

Plus, al-Qaeda in Myanmar and why are Japanese citizens still buying CDs? General interest links.

Some general interest links:

With Alibaba going public this week, the Wall Street Journal reports that Asia is the new Silicon Valley.

The WSJ also interviewed Australia’s Foreign Minister Julie Bishop this week, who is insisting that Russia and China “give at least tacit backing to an international coalition targeting radical jihadists in Syria and Iraq.”

Speaking of Australia and China, proposed changes to Beijing’s coal import regulations appear to target Australian coal. There is still a debate about how much the proposed changes will impact Australia coal, however.

Indeed, a lot of the changes in China these days are hard to discern. Proof enough of this is that even John Garnaut is having a hard time piercing the veil of the Chinese Communist Party. “It’s arguably harder than it has been in decades to see through China’s fragmentary data, deliberate half-truths and irreconcilable contradictions,” he writes.

Over at Global Post, Patrick Winn examines al-Qaeda’s efforts to exploit the plight of Myanmar’s Rohingya people.

Meanwhile, the National Interest interviews Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who is currently in New York for P5+1 negotiations and the U.N. General Assembly meeting.

Japan has prided itself on its uniqueness (which, is in itself, is not very unique) and, according to the New York Times, it is unique in at least one regard: Japanese citizens are some of the only people still purchasing CDs. “While CD sales are falling worldwide, including in Japan, they still account for about 85 percent of sales here, compared with as little as 20 percent in some countries, like Sweden.” More strikingly, digital music sales in Japan actually plunged by 60 percent between 2009 and 2013, and streaming services like Spotify continue to be MIA in Japan.

James Dorsey has a new RSIS commentary which argues that China is quietly crafting a new Middle East policy. “As the United States becomes embroiled in yet another military intervention in the Middle East, China is embarking on a long-term approach to the region that would secure its access to resources and trade, and enable cooperation with the US on Chinese terms.”