Who is good and who is bad in 2022?

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Police officers enter the vandalized entrance to Sri Lanka’s presidential palace in July. The country has been hit hard by the economic crisis.

Abhishek Chinnappa | Getty Images News | Good pictures

Curtis S. Chin, a former US ambassador to the Asian Development Bank, is managing director of consulting firm Riverpeak Group. Jose B. Collazo is an analyst focusing on the Indo-Pacific region. Follow them on Twitter @CurtisSkin And @JoseBcollazo.

As the New Year approaches, we return to our annual look at Asia’s winners and losers. Government and business leaders in every major economy — China now included — can hope that severe pandemic-related lockdowns will become a thing of history by 2023.

In Our 2021 Year in Review, the chaotic withdrawal of the United States and its allies from Afghanistan, and the fallout from the return of Taliban rule—we gave Afghan women and girls “Asia’s worst year.” The “best year” went to Asia’s Cold War veterans, helping social media, “wolf warriors” and politicians return to Cold War rhetoric amid worsening US-China relations.

Now, with the hope that Covid recedes and inflation moderates in the coming year, let’s take a final look at who fared well and who fared poorly in 2022.

Best Year: Southeast Asia’s comeback kids – Marcos and Anwar

Perseverance proved a winner in 2022 with the Philippines’ Ferdinand “Bangbang” Marcos Jr. and Malaysia’s Anwar Ibrahim becoming their respective heads of state. One preserves a family legacy, the other transitions from prison to power—plots perfect for a Netflix series.

In the Philippines, Marcos — the son of his dictator father — won a landslide presidential election in May despite what opponents see as a family legacy of corruption and impunity. 35 years ago, in February 1986, the elder Marcos and his wife Imelda fled to Hawaii in exile driven by the People Power Revolution and the loss of US support.

Anwar Ibrahim made history as the tenth Prime Minister of Malaysia

In Malaysia, Anwar finally proved victorious in November, shedding the longstanding description of “prime minister-in-waiting” to become his country’s 10th prime minister. The one-time deputy prime minister has been marked by decades of smear campaigns, prison terms and backroom maneuvering since he challenged vested interests with his vows to fight corruption.

Both now face the challenge of ruling and advancing their respective countries. Stay tuned for the next episode.

Good year: Taiwan’s semiconductor chipmakers

In a year that saw tensions between the US and China reach a peak when US Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taipei, the island’s cutting-edge semiconductor industry is ending the year on a positive note. Taiwan’s chipmakers are more essential than ever.

Semiconductor chips are at the heart of everything from computers to cars and smartphones. Underscoring the key role of the Taiwanese technology sector, a Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA)/Boston Consulting Group 2021 The study found that Taiwan has 92% of the world’s advanced semiconductor manufacturing capacity. The other 8% was in South Korea.

TSMC headquarters in Hsinchu, Taiwan. The semiconductor manufacturer’s products are at the heart of everything from automobiles to smartphones.

Bloomberg | Bloomberg | Good pictures

In a rare bipartisan move, the US Congress drew attention, passing the CHIPS and SCIENCE Act in July 2022, which allocates $52 billion in federal funds to further boost domestic production of semiconductor chips. In December, the world’s dominant chipmaker Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (DSMC), has announced plans for a A second semiconductor chip plant in ArizonaRaised to $40 billion, it is already one of the largest foreign investments in US history.

With numbers like these, Taiwan’s semiconductor industry ends the year on the move, still building relationships and gaining business and government support in the U.S. and elsewhere.

Mixed Year: Asia’s ‘Love’ for Crypto

Like much of the world, investors in Asia — if not once enamored by the crypto industry — end the year in a mixed mood. The industry declines have left many, including the government, wondering whether caveat emptor — buyer beware — is enough, and new regulations are emerging.

The billion-dollar implosion of crypto exchange FTX raised alarm bells across the region. Singapore’s Temasek Holdings has written off its entire $275 million investment in now-collapsed cryptocurrency business FTX. Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong said there had been “reputational damage”..

FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried was led away by Royal Bahamas Police officers following his arrest.

Mario Duncanson | Afp | Good pictures

Bad year: Sri Lanka, the (once) pearl of South Asia

Amid food insecurity and economic worries in much of Asia, images of angry citizens besieging the official residence and presidential secretariat of Sri Lanka’s President Gotabaya Rajapaksa in what was once “a very bad year for the Pearl of the South.” Asia.”

Sri Lanka continues to face multi-dimensional crises. A broken economy, foreign exchange reserves, high inflation – At some point it reaches more than 70% – and power, fuel and food shortages worsened by the impact of the war in Ukraine, a growing “brain drain” and paltry tourism numbers characterize this South Asian nation today.

Negotiations for an IMF accord remain complicated by Sri Lanka’s huge debt owed by China, India and Japan.

By September, Nearly 200,000 Sri Lankans left the islandAnd thousands of immigrants planned to do the same in search of brighter futures elsewhere.

An IMF deal to restructure Sri Lanka’s debt could provide much-needed monetary and economic stability, but negotiations remain complicated by Sri Lanka’s huge debt to China, India and Japan.

Worst year: China’s besieged, locked-out citizens

While China boasts an extraordinary number of (officially reported) Covid-related deaths, the country has also become a showcase for the negative effects of efforts to contain the virus. In what should have been a good year for Chinese President Xi Jinping, he has seen the year with a wave of Chinese discontent.

Anti-lockdown protests were reported in several cities, including Zhengzhou, the world’s largest iPhone assembly factory, at the end of the year as China’s zero-covid policy took its toll on the economy and the mental health of everyday people.

China will come through the covid reopening, but it will be a bumpy ride

According to Reuters, “We need freedom, not Covid tests” became a common slogan of some protestersAs individuals “pushed boundaries by speaking out for change in a country where the space for protest has been dramatically narrowed.”

The spark that sparked the rare protests 10 people, including children, were killed in a fire in an apartment building in Urumqi, China’s Xinjiang province. – in an area that had been under lockdown for months. One storyline that echoed across the country on social media centered on the role that Covid restrictions played in those deaths.

Chinese citizens can bear in mind that those protests may have had an impact. The The Chinese government has begun easing zero-covid restrictions. However, the country continues to lag the world in opening up and moving forward, and concerns persist about the country’s vaccination rate among the elderly.

So, even as hope returns for a better year ahead, China’s besieged, locked-down citizens earn the dubious honors of 2022 as Asia’s worst year.


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