In November 2020, the Chinese fintech world was shocked when the initial public offering (IPO) of Ant Financial was cancelled. This IPO, which was slated to be the biggest ever, fell afoul of new rules on online lending which would have a considerable impact on Ant’s profit model. This regulatory move turned out to be the first visible step in what since has turned out to be a wholesale restructuring of the regulatory environment for large online platforms.
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“The arts must serve the people and serve socialism” said Xi Jinping, during a symposium of prominent artists held in Beijing. It was 2014, and the world was just getting the first glimpses of the profound overhaul that the new secretary general of the Chinese Communist Party was aiming to achieve. Fast forward 7 years, China is in the process of redrawing its own entertainment sector and reshaping the connection between culture and the people.
International conflicts and crises are extremely complex phenomena and – at least from the “outside” – they should be analysed in the least biased way possible. This is not always easy to achieve, in part because Western media and expert debates often fail to include local voices, different sensitivities and less mainstream views. The Ukraine crisis is no exception. Some crucial points are taken for granted in the Western discourse, but they are still contested realities and should be framed carefully. Should NATO welcome Ukraine’s membership?
Egypt’s situation in terms of sustainability is far from excellent. The ecological footprint per capita is already 4.5 times higher than the country's biocapacity. Furthermore, Egypt is highly vulnerable to the threat of climate change on multiple fronts, including rising sea levels, heat waves, and water scarcity. Increasing the pace of decarbonization and energy diversification with low-carbon resources is an urgent priority for the country to achieve a more sustainable future.
The MED This Week newsletter provides expert analysis and informed insights on the most significant developments in the MENA region, bringing together unique opinions on the topic and reliable foresight on future scenarios. Today, we turn the spotlight on the first year of the Biden administration, focusing on the evolution of the US’ approach to several key policy issues concerning the Middle East.
Scarcely two years after protesters redefined the political landscape in Kyrgyzstan, the country’s giant northern neighbour – Kazakhstan – has witnessed a series of uprisings that started in the Western city of Zhanaozen and soon spread to other Southern cities and, most importantly, the former capital of Almaty.
The severe power outages that plagued China since September 2021 have highlighted the clash between efforts to limit environmental degradation and short-term economic realities. Lower supplies of coal—due to tighter environmental and safety inspections—combined with soaring power demand on the back of an infrastructure-heavy economic recovery, led to severe power cuts in over 20 Chinese provinces. The power rationing has weighed on the country’s economic growth and impacted global supply chains.
Regardless of the outcome, Brazil’s election will reveal the deep divisions running through the country.
Russian troops on the Ukrainian border ring the alarm bell for a possible invasion. A geopolitical rather than military strategy.
China and Africa’s ground-breaking declaration on climate change will profoundly impact China’s future international development strategy. In this blog, IDS Fellow Wei Shen highlights how and what more needs to be done to successfully implement this vision.