Robert Boxwell

Robert Boxwell

Robert Boxwell has worked and lived in the Asia-Pacific region since the early 1990s. He is an occasional contributor on business and regional issues to the South China Morning Post, Reuters, Financial Times and Bloomberg, and is writing a book on the history of US-China trade. He lives in Kuala Lumpur, where he is director of the international consultancy Opera Advisors. Find him on Twitter: @RobertBoxwellJr.

Latest from Robert Boxwell

Opinion | Luckin Coffee fraud is a cautionary tale for investors and US regulators

In an industry that has its fair share of naive investors and con artists, the improbability of Luckin’s claims and business model should have been easy to spot. Luckin’s fraud could not have come at a worse time for China’s honest businesspeople.

19 Jul 2020 - 9:04PM

In an industry that has its fair share of naive investors and con artists, the improbability of Luckin’s claims and business model should have been easy to spot. Luckin’s fraud could not have come at a worse time for China’s honest businesspeople.

Luckin Coffee fraud is a cautionary tale for investors and US regulators
Opinion | Is the door closing for Beijing’s ‘wolf warriors’ on Twitter amid a US-China disinformation war?

By fact-checking Trump but only belatedly getting to Chinese diplomats, Twitter has opened the door to a debate about who is posting what. With millions of Americans sickened by Covid-19 and opinion hardening against Beijing, Twitter may face a backlash.

22 Jun 2020 - 3:13AM

By fact-checking Trump but only belatedly getting to Chinese diplomats, Twitter has opened the door to a debate about who is posting what. With millions of Americans sickened by Covid-19 and opinion hardening against Beijing, Twitter may face a backlash.

Is the door closing for Beijing’s ‘wolf warriors’ on Twitter amid a US-China disinformation war?
Opinion | The coronavirus crisis may be helping China and Xi Jinping solve the Donald Trump problem

The pandemic may have a ‘my enemy’s enemy is my friend’ silver lining for Xi. As bad as Covid-19 has been for China’s image around the world, it may turn out to be a godsend for Xi if it means the end of Trump in the White House.

8 May 2020 - 4:58AM

The pandemic may have a ‘my enemy’s enemy is my friend’ silver lining for Xi. As bad as Covid-19 has been for China’s image around the world, it may turn out to be a godsend for Xi if it means the end of Trump in the White House.

The coronavirus crisis may be helping China and Xi Jinping solve the Donald Trump problem
Eye on Asia | Bouncing back from coronavirus: Asia’s battle-hardened businesspeople are better prepared than they think

We have had plenty of opportunities to learn from crises across Asia over the past 25 years, and though Covid-19 is different from previous disasters, we will recover from it.

13 Apr 2020 - 8:23AM

We have had plenty of opportunities to learn from crises across Asia over the past 25 years, and though Covid-19 is different from previous disasters, we will recover from it.

Bouncing back from coronavirus: Asia’s battle-hardened businesspeople are better prepared than they think
The blame game: the origins of Covid-19 and the anatomy of a fake news story

The Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson’s recent retweet of an article blaming the US for infecting Wuhan with coronavirus provides one clear example of how governments and their agencies can manipulate facts and blur reality to disrupt and control the public narrative.

5 Apr 2020 - 7:57PM

The Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson’s recent retweet of an article blaming the US for infecting Wuhan with coronavirus provides one clear example of how governments and their agencies can manipulate facts and blur reality to disrupt and control the public narrative.

The blame game: the origins of Covid-19 and the anatomy of a fake news story
Opinion | The 2020 US election is looking like a replay of 2016. Will Democrats fail to beat Donald Trump again?

Once again, two questionable candidates are vying for the Democratic presidential nomination. One has been named in a scandal, and the other likes Fidel Castro. Worryingly, Democrats don’t seem to have figured out how to beat Trump.

14 Mar 2020 - 12:14PM

Once again, two questionable candidates are vying for the Democratic presidential nomination. One has been named in a scandal, and the other likes Fidel Castro. Worryingly, Democrats don’t seem to have figured out how to beat Trump.

The 2020 US election is looking like a replay of 2016. Will Democrats fail to beat Donald Trump again?
Opinion | Trump must stand firm on Huawei to convince US allies to ban the Chinese company from their 5G networks

US allies who hesitate to keep Huawei out of their 5G networks are not only afraid of reprisals from Beijing but also find a Trump-sponsored policy a hard sell. Worse, they are unsure the US will be there for them when the dust settles.

2 Mar 2020 - 2:00AM

US allies who hesitate to keep Huawei out of their 5G networks are not only afraid of reprisals from Beijing but also find a Trump-sponsored policy a hard sell. Worse, they are unsure the US will be there for them when the dust settles.

Trump must stand firm on Huawei to convince US allies to ban the Chinese company from their 5G networks
Opinion | Despite the Trump impeachment trial and State of the Union saga, American democracy is far from broken

While last week might have been a dramatic one in American politics, it also shows that the checks and balances written into the Constitution are working. Hysterical, dishonest, hyper-partisan politicians, however, threaten the system.

12 Feb 2020 - 6:47AM

While last week might have been a dramatic one in American politics, it also shows that the checks and balances written into the Constitution are working. Hysterical, dishonest, hyper-partisan politicians, however, threaten the system.

Despite the Trump impeachment trial and State of the Union saga, American democracy is far from broken
Opinion | China and the US were never going to live happily ever after, so Donald Trump brokered the best divorce he could

Trump and his team understand that China’s world view is shaped by a desire for stability and its narrative of a ‘century of humiliation’ at the hands of foreign powers, and that it is unlikely to yield much to the US.

17 Feb 2020 - 2:39PM

Trump and his team understand that China’s world view is shaped by a desire for stability and its narrative of a ‘century of humiliation’ at the hands of foreign powers, and that it is unlikely to yield much to the US.

China and the US were never going to live happily ever after, so Donald Trump brokered the best divorce he could
Opinion | Why Trump will win another four years as US president: voters want him to finish what he started

Voters in 2016 liked Trump’s promise to stem the tide of illegal immigration, tackle trade with China and defeat Islamic State – and they still do. Unless Democrats can put up a credible candidate willing to deliver a similar agenda, they will lose.

11 Jan 2020 - 2:20PM

Voters in 2016 liked Trump’s promise to stem the tide of illegal immigration, tackle trade with China and defeat Islamic State – and they still do. Unless Democrats can put up a credible candidate willing to deliver a similar agenda, they will lose.

Why Trump will win another four years as US president: voters want him to finish what he started
Opinion | Michael Bloomberg in the White House? China might say thanks, but no thanks

The billionaire’s history of self-censorship with regard to China is a liability with voters that his rivals in the presidential race would seize on. This would make China-related issues a focus in the election, a turn of event Beijing would not welcome.

16 Nov 2019 - 12:00PM

The billionaire’s history of self-censorship with regard to China is a liability with voters that his rivals in the presidential race would seize on. This would make China-related issues a focus in the election, a turn of event Beijing would not welcome.

Michael Bloomberg in the White House? China might say thanks, but no thanks
Opinion | Police and protesters need to make peace, to end the insanity of Hongkongers fighting Hongkongers

Continuing the violence will only erode global support for the protesters’ cause. Peaceful protests are the only way forward in a deeply divided Hong Kong.

29 Sep 2019 - 7:21AM

Continuing the violence will only erode global support for the protesters’ cause. Peaceful protests are the only way forward in a deeply divided Hong Kong.

Police and protesters need to make peace, to end the insanity of Hongkongers fighting Hongkongers
Opinion | Hong Kong’s business is everyone’s business: as protests rage on, world leaders should make sure China knows that

The violent suppression of the Hong Kong protesters could have stark consequence for world trade, and even world peace. It is therefore in world leaders interests to draw clear boundaries for Beijing over how to respond to them

29 Aug 2019 - 9:09AM

The violent suppression of the Hong Kong protesters could have stark consequence for world trade, and even world peace. It is therefore in world leaders interests to draw clear boundaries for Beijing over how to respond to them

Hong Kong’s business is everyone’s business: as protests rage on, world leaders should make sure China knows that
Opinion | Did Ross Perot give us Donald Trump? His anti-free trade 1992 campaign certainly gave us the blueprint

Perot was the original quotable outsider businessman to become presidential front-runner through free trade scepticism. His strange 1992 campaign may also have got Bill Clinton elected, setting the wheels in motion for Trump’s rise.

13 Jul 2019 - 3:07AM

Perot was the original quotable outsider businessman to become presidential front-runner through free trade scepticism. His strange 1992 campaign may also have got Bill Clinton elected, setting the wheels in motion for Trump’s rise.

Did Ross Perot give us Donald Trump? His anti-free trade 1992 campaign certainly gave us the blueprint
Opinion | How China’s rise is helping to unite America behind Donald Trump’s trade war

Beijing’s decision to substantially revise a draft trade agreement and the veiled threat on supplies of rare earth metals have provoked Americans who believe Washington is making a fair request for market access and an end to tech theft.

28 May 2019 - 3:44AM

Beijing’s decision to substantially revise a draft trade agreement and the veiled threat on supplies of rare earth metals have provoked Americans who believe Washington is making a fair request for market access and an end to tech theft.

How China’s rise is helping to unite America behind Donald Trump’s trade war
Opinion | To protect US trade, Donald Trump needs to stand firm on intellectual property protection demands with China

If the US loses its technological edge, the trade war is irrevocably lost. Not just Trump but many Americans believe it would be better to have no deal at all than one that fails to satisfy the US on the intellectual property issue.

8 May 2019 - 3:35AM

If the US loses its technological edge, the trade war is irrevocably lost. Not just Trump but many Americans believe it would be better to have no deal at all than one that fails to satisfy the US on the intellectual property issue.

To protect US trade, Donald Trump needs to stand firm on intellectual property protection demands with China
Opinion | The ‘big dumb guy’ and why a China trade deal will be a flop

Watching the US inch toward a watered-down trade agreement is like watching the big dumb guy reach for a doorknob in a horror movie

27 Apr 2019 - 9:19PM

Watching the US inch toward a watered-down trade agreement is like watching the big dumb guy reach for a doorknob in a horror movie

The ‘big dumb guy’ and why a China trade deal will be a flop
Opinion | After Robert Mueller’s report, the partisan US press must reflect on how it played into China’s hands

Determined to smear the US president while attracting more readers, the US press, including respected newspapers, sold a story of collusion with Russia that rested on questionable foundations. In the process, democracy began to look less credible.

30 Mar 2019 - 1:53AM

Determined to smear the US president while attracting more readers, the US press, including respected newspapers, sold a story of collusion with Russia that rested on questionable foundations. In the process, democracy began to look less credible.

After Robert Mueller’s report, the partisan US press must reflect on how it played into China’s hands
Opinion | China and Donald Trump have a problem. On trade, US Democrats may be even more hawkish

The US president opened the door to the trade war but may not be able to shut it – now both parties in Washington and allies abroad are pushing for massive changes to China’s economy.

15 Mar 2019 - 2:08AM

The US president opened the door to the trade war but may not be able to shut it – now both parties in Washington and allies abroad are pushing for massive changes to China’s economy.

China and Donald Trump have a problem. On trade, US Democrats may be even more hawkish
Opinion | Donald Trump caught between his wall and a hard place – China. And Beijing is watching his negotiations very closely

Trump is stuck. If he strikes a deal with Beijing, it may hurt his chances in 2020. If he doesn’t, Wall Street will punish him. Meanwhile, Beijing is monitoring his border wall negotiations, to see if he is a sell-out.

25 Jan 2019 - 3:28AM

Trump is stuck. If he strikes a deal with Beijing, it may hurt his chances in 2020. If he doesn’t, Wall Street will punish him. Meanwhile, Beijing is monitoring his border wall negotiations, to see if he is a sell-out.

Donald Trump caught between his wall and a hard place – China. And Beijing is watching his negotiations very closely
Opinion | The arrest of Huawei CFO Sabrina Meng Wanzhou matters, or not; agreements have been made, or not: welcome to the US-China trade mess

Beijing and Washington can’t even agree on who started the trade war. Nor it is clear how the US intends to verify China’s compliance on the issue of intellectual property theft, which Washington sees as a security threat.

13 Dec 2018 - 2:19AM

Beijing and Washington can’t even agree on who started the trade war. Nor it is clear how the US intends to verify China’s compliance on the issue of intellectual property theft, which Washington sees as a security threat.

The arrest of Huawei CFO Sabrina Meng Wanzhou matters, or not; agreements have been made, or not: welcome to the US-China trade mess
Opinion | When even China hawks and doves agree, it’s time for Trump to tell Americans the painful economic truth about the US-China trade war

Despite their divergent views on trade with China, White House trade adviser Peter Navarro and former Treasury secretary Henry Paulson agree that there will be no quick fix to the trade war – now it’s up to Trump to tell Americans.

17 Nov 2018 - 2:52PM

Despite their divergent views on trade with China, White House trade adviser Peter Navarro and former Treasury secretary Henry Paulson agree that there will be no quick fix to the trade war – now it’s up to Trump to tell Americans.

When even China hawks and doves agree, it’s time for Trump to tell Americans the painful economic truth about the US-China trade war
Trump’s trade war: the one thing he does know is that doing nothing is not the answer

As Donald Trump does what previous American presidents have failed to do: try something – anything – to curtail the mass transfer of technology to China, we look at tariffs in the context of US efforts to rein in abuse of intellectual property rights

19 Nov 2018 - 2:51PM

As Donald Trump does what previous American presidents have failed to do: try something – anything – to curtail the mass transfer of technology to China, we look at tariffs in the context of US efforts to rein in abuse of intellectual property rights

Trump’s trade war: the one thing he does know is that doing nothing is not the answer
How China’s rampant intellectual property theft, long overlooked by US, sparked trade war

The first article in a two-part series exploring the trade war between the world’s two superpowers argues we should have seen it coming.

19 Nov 2018 - 2:49PM

The first article in a two-part series exploring the trade war between the world’s two superpowers argues we should have seen it coming.

How China’s rampant intellectual property theft, long overlooked by US, sparked trade war
How one of Wall Street’s biggest insider trading cases was cracked in 1980s Hong Kong

United States’ case against a flamboyant Taiwanese investor made headlines around the world, and began the end of an era when short prison sentences sometimes made financial crime seem like a good bet

20 Aug 2018 - 8:59AM

United States’ case against a flamboyant Taiwanese investor made headlines around the world, and began the end of an era when short prison sentences sometimes made financial crime seem like a good bet

How one of Wall Street’s biggest insider trading cases was cracked in 1980s Hong Kong
The US-China trade war: can Trump learn from history and resolve it?

China’s inexorable rise has seen an inconsequential trade gap with the US balloon into a multitrillion-dollar chasm. But how and why did it happen, and can Donald Trump really do anything about it?

2 Jul 2018 - 10:55AM

China’s inexorable rise has seen an inconsequential trade gap with the US balloon into a multitrillion-dollar chasm. But how and why did it happen, and can Donald Trump really do anything about it?

The US-China trade war: can Trump learn from history and resolve it?
Trump’s flaws should not distract from the greater imperfections of US-China trade relations

Washington was misled into supporting China’s accession to the World Trade Organisation and it is time for the US to return to trading with like-minded partners.

27 Mar 2018 - 6:50PM

Washington was misled into supporting China’s accession to the World Trade Organisation and it is time for the US to return to trading with like-minded partners.

Trump’s flaws should not distract from the greater imperfections of US-China trade relations
Opinion | When ride-sharing titans like Uber and Didi collude, it is the customer who loses out

Uber’s decision to exit Southeast Asia is a win for the ride-sharing behemoths but a loss for the public.

17 Mar 2018 - 10:35PM

Uber’s decision to exit Southeast Asia is a win for the ride-sharing behemoths but a loss for the public.

When ride-sharing titans like Uber and Didi collude, it is the customer who loses out
Trade war revisited: a US clash with China won’t be like its 1980s feud with Japan

US companies can benefit from a trade war, just as they did from the clash with Japan in the 1980s. The effects of this dispute, though, are likely to be more painful than they were 30 years ago.

23 Mar 2018 - 12:58PM

US companies can benefit from a trade war, just as they did from the clash with Japan in the 1980s. The effects of this dispute, though, are likely to be more painful than they were 30 years ago.

Trade war revisited: a US clash with China won’t be like its 1980s feud with Japan
Singapore must preserve Lee Kuan Yew’s home, as a monument to his ideas