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The 12th Asia-Pacific International Conference “Towards the Indo-Pacific: New Strategies and Patterns of International Cooperation and Exchange”

On November 15, the twelfth edition of the Asia-Pacific International Conference, co-hosted by the Asia-Pacific Research Center and Wroclaw University of Economics and Business (Poland), was held.

On this occasion, the center was represented by two of our researchers, Antonio José Pagán and David Wong, who presented their respective research projects “Strategic Responses from US allies in Western Europe to the rise of China” and “Lessons from Chinese Family Business (CHFB) Emigrating to Southeast Asia and Latin America: the case of Indonesia and Peru.”

In his research, Pagán examines the responses of five US allies in Western Europe (Germany, the United Kingdom, France, Italy, and Spain) to three Chinese international initiatives (the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, the Belt and Road, and Huawei’s 5G), analyzing why sometimes these countries adopt the same position as Washington but at other times they opt to cooperate with China despite US warnings.

Centering on economic opportunities, security concerns, and US pressure, Pagán finds that economic opportunities are no longer decisive and that, on the contrary, it is security concerns that prevail. Meanwhile, pressure exerted by Washington is often unsuccessful, but proactive overtures can influence their allies’ responses on China.

For his part, Wong explores the dynamics of Chinese family businesses (CHFB) in Indonesia, and Peru, comparing and contrasting their different trajectories. Despite common challenges—such as a weak state, corruption, low levels of human capital, individualistic cultures, low competitiveness, and the middle-income trap—CHFBs have achieved remarkable success in Indonesia but tend to lag behind in Peru.

Wong detects further divergences between the two case studies. Stressing the influence of the “bamboo network,” a unique Chinese cultural construct that fosters trust; the use of Kongsis as a strategy for settling in potentially hostile foreign environments; the influence of Confucian values; and the evolving concept of solidarity, he concludes that the bamboo network and entrepreneurship are key determinants of the success of CHFBs in Indonesia but not in Peru.

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