Indonesian president Joko Widodo has formally proposed to move the country's capital to Borneo. However, critics question the feasibility of developing a new capital city while the country simultaneously pursues Widodo's signature $400 billion infrastructure plan, which centers mainly in Java, Nikkei reports.
Browse our analysis section for news and articles on topics such as China's Belt and Road Initiative (OBOR), the Competing Visions of Japan, India, and other regional powers, and the stakes for U.S. policy.
Malaysia has relaunched the East Coast Rail Link after re-negotiations with China led to The Export Import Bank of China backing 85% of the cost. The project price is now $11 billion, a third of the original expected amount, reports Nikkei.
A senior Pentagon official has suggested that China may be developing a military presence at Ream naval base in Cambodia, raising concerns that the port and other investments related to China's Belt and Road Initiative could create potential military advantages, Nikkei reports.
Foreign investment, led by China, in transportation and telecommunications quadrupled to $1 billion in the last six months as Myanmar approved a number of infrastructure projects, Nikkei reports.
Japan will announce a new plan for Mynamar's Dawei special economic zone that focuses on building a port that will export to India. The proposal comes as China is building and financing Kyaukphyu port, increasing its economic influence in the country, reports Nikkei.
Cambodia's real estate sector is facing scrutiny after a construction project being developed under China's Belt and Road Initiative collapsed. The Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen announced that an investigation will take place, but denied allegations linking the tragedy to heavy Chinese investment and ongoing corruption, reports the Nikkei Asian Review.
BRI 2.0 represents an opportunity for Southeast Asia to enter the next phase of growth. China's commitment to transparency could usher a new era of partnerships that benefit multiple parties, writes David Liao for Nikkei Asian Review.
Cambodia and other nations across Southeast Asia are emerging as vital staging grounds for a new form of power struggle between China and its rivals. The growth of Beijing's vast Belt and Road Initiative since 2013 has galvanized the U.S. and its allies -- including Japan, India and Australia -- and prompted them to draw up infrastructure and security programs of their own, writes Gwen Robinson for the Nikkei Asian Review
Cambodian state-owned telecommunications companies have teamed up with China's Huawei to roll out a 5G network in 2020. However, experts say it could be years before 5G reaches ordinary Cambodians due to the scale of investment needed and the high cost of 5G handsets, reports Nikkei.
Beijing is striking a conciliatory tone abroad to repair ties with Belt and Road partners, particularly in Southeast Asia where negotiations with Chinese companies over halted infrastructure projects are restarting, Nikkei reports.
Thailand's prime minister, Prayuth Chan-ocha, signed a Memorandum of Cooperation with Laos and China to accelerate the construction of a much delayed high-speed rail line between northeast Thailand and Vientiane in Laos, reports Nikkei.
China Communications Construction Co. executives on Wednesday reiterated the infrastructure company has not given up on the multibillion-dollar East Coast Rail Link in Malaysia, on which development work has been suspended for months amid doubts over the project's financial viability, reports Nikkei.
As Singapore's population grows, the city-state's Urban Redevelopment Authority has announced a plan to expand its urban infrastructure underground. Singapore's geographic constraints demand creative thinking from its government about how to further build out its infrastructure, reports Nikkei.
Thailand's government will invest $2.78 billion in Laem Chabang port, the core of Thailand's Eastern Economic Corridor. The Thai government hopes to position the deep-water port to compete with Singapore and Hong Kong, reports Nikkei.
Southeast Asian nations are investing in their urban rail infrastructure to ease road congestion impeding their further economic growth. In Hanoi, road congestion costs Vietnam as much as $1.2 billion in 2018, reports Nikkei.
Thailand and Vietnam have announced plans to start 5G services as early as 2020. The Southeast Asian nations are scrambling to introduce 5G networks, determined not to fall behind developed nations, reports the Nikkei Asian Review.
While on a state visit to the Philippines, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammad told journalists that if countries borrow money from China they cannot pay back, the country "may be under the control of the lender." The statement was read as a warning to Philippines president Rodrigo Duterte, who accepted a $9 billion credit line from China in 2016, reports Nikkei.
Myanmar's Aung San Suu Kyi, the de facto leader, convened a forum for foreign businesses in the impoverished Rakhine State, urging attendees to invest in infrastructure throughout the country's rural areas. With national elections in 2020, Suu Kyi has been touring outlying regions in Myanmar promising development initiatives to shore up support for her ruling party, reports Nikkei.
Southeast Asia’s strategic importance for China, the United States, Japan, and others, and the advantages that will come with control over data flows, mean that the region’s decisions on digital infrastructure and internet governance will have implications that far transcend business outcomes.
Huawei's Vietnam chief says the company has received assurances from the country's communications minister that Vietnam remains "open" to Huawei's 5G technology. This comes on the heels of European countries announcing they will reconsider telecommunications partnerships with Huawei due to information security concerns.
The trial of Najib Razak, Malaysia's former prime minister, over corruption-related charges tied to the 1MDB development fund is scheduled to begin on February 12. The prosecution is expected to probe whether China-backed infrastructure projects signed by Najib's government were used to bail out 1MDB, reports Nikkei.
Vietnam's government has re-introduced a previously rejected plan for a high-speed railway that would connect the country's north and south. Under the current proposal, the government would cover 80% of the project's cost, fueling concern that funding the railway would be irresponsible.
China Three Gorges Corp, operator of the world's largest hydropower plant, is turning to projects offshore as domestic costs soar and space runs out on China's crowded rivers. The company, which already has business in more than 40 countries, will focus mostly on South Asia, Southeast Asia, Africa, and Latin America, reports the Nikkei Asian Review.
In an effort to provide an alternative to China's Belt and Road Initiative, Japan will help build "smart cities" across Southeast Asia, using artificial intelligence and networked devices to tackle problems like road congestion and energy conservation, reports the Nikkei Asian Review.
Thailand will spend more than $25 billion to build a high-speed rail network in a bid to transform the country into a regional rail hub. The Bang Sue Grand Station in Bangkok, when completed in 2020, is expected be Southeast Asia's biggest station with a capacity of serving 400,000 passengers daily.
Japan's Kawasaki Heavy Industries has created a floating, gas-fired power plant that it hopes to sell to power companies in rapidly growing economies in Asia and as an emergency source of power in areas hit by natural disasters where infrastructure remains underdeveloped, reports the Nikkei Asian Review.
Laos is accepting more Chinese loans to build 50 hydropower dams by 2025 and is increasing its external debt, half of which is owed to China.
The China Road Project, a team of researchers interested in China’s role in global development, will be traveling 60,000 kilometers over land and sea to investigate China's Belt and Road initiative (BRI), a foreign policy concept and global infrastructure plan announced by Chinese president Xi Jinping in 2013, to help close the information gap and shine a light on the multi-trillion dollar initiative.
Newly elected Asian leaders from the Maldives, Malaysia, and Sri Lanka question the "business sense" of some Chinese-funded infrastructure projects under the Belt and Road Initiative, casting doubt on Beijing's strategy for building regional influence.
Maldivians voted out incumbent President Yameen, an early supporter of Beijing's Belt and Road Initiative who accepted funding for bridges, housing and other infrastructure projects.
Thai oil and gas group PTT is in discussions with potential partners to develop an estimated $7 billion high-speed train project as part of the country's Eastern Economic Corridor.
Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad is heading to China to renegotiate billion-dollar infrastructure projects signed by his predecessor, in an effort to reduce the nation's financial dependence on China.
Vietnam's Ministry of Investment and Planning issued a warning to its government about Chinese development assistance, citing concerns of high interest rates, project overruns, and a lack of local contribution to the projects.
Indonesian president Joko Widodo is reportedly considering cutting back on his signature infrastructure projects to suppress imports of construction materials in order to protect the value of the rupiah, according to Nikkei Asian Review.
Chinese infrastructure investment throughout Southeast Asia has shifted the tide of opinion, simultaneously supporting authoritarian politics in certain states and engendering opposition to Belt and Road in others, according to the Nikkei Asian Review.
Indonesian President Widodo's flagship infrastructure program seems to put him in favor in his re-election bid. The outcome of upcoming regional elections will gauge if the public is happy with Widodo's infrastructure drive and influence the way he addresses infrastructure leading up to national elections next April.
Vietnam plans to develop the largest solar plant in the ASEAN region, a 420-megawatt facility located in Tay Ninh in southwestern Vietnam. Talks are underway with several local and international financial institutions for project funding for the $420 million project.
Malaysia's Ministry of Finance is reviewing two gas pipeline projects worth $2.36 billion signed under the Najib administration, following the discovery that 88 percent of the money has been paid out despite only 13 percent of the work being completed.
Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad will send his finance minister to Beijing to renegotiate several infrastructure contracts following the discovery of three Chinese-funded and built projects where payments were made based on agreed time milestones and not work completed.
Cambodia is set to complete an ambitious rail project next week from Poipet to Phnom Penh, connecting the country from North to South for the first time in 45 years. However, substantial Chinese involvement in the project has raised concerns over high levels of debt owed to China, which some estimates place as high as $4 billion, or 20 percent of Cambodia's GDP.
This report highlights recommendations on how the U.S. might effectively engage Southeast Asia's infrastructure challenges to foster greater stability and financial integration in the region.
Malaysia has canceled plans for a $14.8 billion high-speed rail project that would have connected Kuala Lumpur with Singapore.
Prime Minister Mahathir cancelled a proposed high-speed railway project that would have connected Kuala Lumpur with Singapore on Monday, citing the overall cost of the project as a primary concern. Mahathir's predecessor signed a legally-binding deal with his counterpart, Lee Hsien Loong, in December 2016 as a symbol of closer bilateral cooperation which will now require negotiating a $125 million penalty for pulling out.
Most countries along the BRI have urgent infrastructure development needs and many are considered too high-risk for traditional investors, the result being that their governments have been highly receptive to Beijing’s offers of financing, building, and operating infrastructure projects.
Facing a $251 billion national debt that is far higher than figures published by the previous administration, the new Malaysian government will reexamine key infrastructure projects such as the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore high-speed railway and the East Coast Rail Link.
The port of Patimban, estimated to cost $3 billion, is going to be financed by a Japanese loan and may be built by a Japanese-Indonesian team. The port is envisioned to become a transport hub and alleviate problems for Japanese companies operating in the West Java industrial park.
Japan's businesses were approved to devote a record $1.47 billion to Myanmar in this fiscal year, including investments in infrastructure.