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Guanie Lim and Thong Tien Nguyen

To resuscitate its ailing and isolated economy, Vietnam implemented the doi moi (renovation) reforms in the late 1980s. Designed to create a modern economy, doi moi also sought to reintegrate Vietnam into the international economic system. As a result, the Southeast Asian country signed several landmark economic treaties with regional and international bodies such as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the World Trade Organization (WTO). Such treaties have opened up new export markets for Vietnamese firms but have also compelled the state to ease, and even dismantle, protectionist policies in order to draw foreign firms into the domestic economy. Vietnam has been amenable to such neoliberal arrangements, and has recorded stellar economic growth as a result; this commitment to openness has also earned praise from international institutions and analysts. However, a closer examination of the Vietnamese banking industry – earmarked for reform in the aftermath of doi moi – tells a different story. Presenting an analysis of continuity and change in the Vietnamese banking industry, this chapter examines the fate of neoliberal ideas about development when they encounter the very different political context of a transition economy.

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Guanie Lim and Hong Liu

This chapter studies the recent entry of China’s outward foreign direct investment into Indonesia in the context of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). The chapter is divided into two sections. The first section surveys the investment landscape of Indonesia, shedding light on the performance of Chinese investment vis-à-vis that of the more traditional investors (such as Japan and Singapore). It also illustrates the industry-by-industry breakdown of such investment, thus providing a more balanced perspective on Chinese investment within the Indonesian economy. The second section details how Chinese investment has been integrated into the local political economy, focusing on arguably two of the most prominent projects in the financial and transportation industries respectively. In the financial industry, Mainland Chinese private firms have forged ties with the ethnic Chinese businesses in the country, reflecting the demarginalization of the latter since the late 1990s. More prosaically, this example illustrates private-private collaboration. In the transportation industry, the chapter highlights the collaboration between the state-owned enterprises of China and Indonesia through a detailed analysis of the Jakarta-Bandung High Speed Rail (HSR), one of the BRI flagship projects in Indonesia. This state-state capital alliance is a new phenomenon that has important implications for Indonesia’s economic development as well as the BRI in Southeast Asia general.