16.10.20 - 22.10.20 Sup SEAkers!
Jade mines cover 14,000 hectares around Hpakant, Myanmar and have been excavated for decades leaving the environment barren and dusty. The pits at the bottom are full of water used by mining companies to do commercial mining.
This Week's News Spotlight:
Thailand seeks travel bubble with China | Digital payments in ASEAN to triple to USD 1.5 trillion by 2030 | Myanmar’s jade hub under lockdown | Jakarta airport sets special lanes for Indonesia-Singapore travellers | Philippines lifts ban on oil and gas exploration in South China Sea
Thailand seeks travel bubble with China - Bloomberg
In 2019, around 11 million Chinese travellers visited Thailand, contributing around USD 17 billion to the Thai economy.
A quarantine-free travel bubble between Thailand and China might be ready by January. The two countries are currently in talks to establish this travel corridor, which would be a large step forward for Thailand to revive its tourism industry.
According to Thailand tourism minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn, this agreement is dependent on the success of the limited reopening of Thailand to foreign travellers, which will happen this month. China will be the first low-risk country that Thailand is allowing for quarantine-free travel. In this arrangement, the quarantine is replaced by a Covid-19 test and mobile tracking application for Chinese visitors.
Digital payments in ASEAN to triple to USD 1.5 trillion by 2030 - Business Times
ASEAN’s e-wallet industry is already crowded, consisting of standalone fintech companies and telecom operator platforms, ride-hailing companies, and e-commerce apps.
According to a report by HSBC, digital payments in ASEAN are expected to triple to USD 1.5 trillion by 2030. The report also added that the best-positioned players are ride-hailing, e-commerce, and telecom-driven apps. The proportion of consumer-to-business payments is expected to rise by two-thirds.
This uptake of digital payments will be primarily driven by ASEAN’s underbanked consumer base, who do not have credit cards, high smartphone and internet penetration rates, and high merchant acceptance of QR payment methods.
Myanmar’s jade hub under lockdown - The Irrawaddy
Many migrant workers are employed at Hpakant’s jade mines.
Myanmar has imposed a partial lockdown on two townships in the state of Kachin, which includes the jade hub of Hpakant, due to an increase in the number of Covid-19 cases within the community. Hpakant has reported 59 cases of Covid-19 so far.
Jakarta airport sets special lanes for Indonesia-Singapore travellers - The Jakarta Post
Travellers from both sides must have official sponsors from the destination country and a safe travel pass (for Indonesians entering Singapore) or visa (for Singaporeans entering Indonesia).
Jakarta’s Soekarno-Hatta International Airport is setting aside special lines for passengers travelling between Indonesia and Singapore, as part of the Reciprocal Green Lane (RGL) agreement, which comes into effect on 26 October.
Travellers using the RGL will have to use thermal scanners before checking in, and have to show a negative Covid-19 test that is valid for 72 hours. They must then use an electronic health alert card to verify their health status before boarding the plane.
Philippines lifts ban on oil and gas exploration in South China Sea - CNA
The lifting of the ban comes as the Philippines faces decreasing energy reserves.
The Philippines has lifted a ban on oil and gas exploration in the disputed South China Sea, which could speed up talks with Beijing on an energy project.
In 2014, drilling off the coast of the Philippines was halted amidst an “escalating row” with China over claims to areas of the South China Sea, which were believed to be rich in natural resources. When current Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte took office in 2016, he “softened his predecessors’ opposition” and the countries restarted talks over the contested waters.