Digitalisation, Trade, and Geopolitics in Asia

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The world is witnessing a sudden and swift global adjustment towards intensive digitalisation. This process started many years ago; however the current hurtling pace was not predicted to be reached until at least the middle of this decade. The Covid-19 pandemic has pushed the world into a future that it is still preparing for. This is equally true for Asia. This region has; however; prepared for the impact of this shift; as has been seen by how many Asian countries have swiftly adjusted to these new realities. Indeed; without an existing digital stronghold; the pandemic could have caused far greater damage to economies; notably since the policy of lockdowns has essentially stopped physical movements and commerce.This series of papers provides us with a picture of the state of digitalisation in Asia prior to the pandemic; and to a certain extent; during the pandemic. Written by regional scholars and practitioners; they provide a rich source of understanding of how Asian countries have been preparing for digitalisation; in the aspects of trade; domestic commerce; firms; industry and labour capacities; regional arrangements; geopolitical implications and individual country adaptations. Overall; the scholars fundamentally converge on the need to have a regional framework to govern the digitalisation process. This is primarily due to the differences in readiness; openness; capitalisation and regulatory capacity to manage possible benefits and costs.