Tom Holland

Tom Holland is a former SCMP staffer who has been writing about Asian affairs for more than 25 years
Tom Holland
Tom Holland is a former SCMP staffer who has been writing about Asian affairs for more than 25 years

Latest from Tom Holland

Abacus | In Europe, China’s economic cold war with the West is over before it’s begun

The much-reported strain between the EU and China is exaggerated – Europe has too much to lose to present an effectively assertive front to China over bilateral economic affairs.

15 Apr 2019 - 1:29AM

The much-reported strain between the EU and China is exaggerated – Europe has too much to lose to present an effectively assertive front to China over bilateral economic affairs.

In Europe, China’s economic cold war with the West is over before it’s begun
Abacus | Beijing’s ‘Made in China 2025’ plan isn’t dead, it’s out of control

China’s silence on its plan to become technologically self-sufficient belies the aggressive moves taken by the central and local governments to develop new industries.

9 Apr 2019 - 2:42AM

China’s silence on its plan to become technologically self-sufficient belies the aggressive moves taken by the central and local governments to develop new industries.

Beijing’s ‘Made in China 2025’ plan isn’t dead, it’s out of control
Abacus | Hong Kong’s solution to a housing problem that doesn’t exist: dump HK$1 trillion into the sea off Lantau

The government’s plan to create artificial islands off the coast of Lantau will cost HK$624 billion, but it habitually underestimates price tags by about 50 per cent – and the city is not short of building land or housing.

24 Mar 2019 - 12:22PM

The government’s plan to create artificial islands off the coast of Lantau will cost HK$624 billion, but it habitually underestimates price tags by about 50 per cent – and the city is not short of building land or housing.

Hong Kong’s solution to a housing problem that doesn’t exist: dump HK$1 trillion into the sea off Lantau
Abacus | Global recession prophets have misread the US and Chinese economies

Relax everyone, that looming financial apocalypse just isn’t going to happen. Well, not in 2019 at least.

18 Mar 2019 - 11:14AM

Relax everyone, that looming financial apocalypse just isn’t going to happen. Well, not in 2019 at least.

Global recession prophets have misread the US and Chinese economies
Abacus | Three reasons to think twice about China’s stock slump

Are the grisly figures from China’s stock markets the start of a long overdue correction – or a blip in a bull market that is set to run and run? Here’s what the smart money says

11 Mar 2019 - 10:02AM

Are the grisly figures from China’s stock markets the start of a long overdue correction – or a blip in a bull market that is set to run and run? Here’s what the smart money says

Three reasons to think twice about China’s stock slump
Abacus | As US mulls new Plaza Accord, China should learn from Japan’s fate … but not the lesson it thinks

The cause of Japan’s lost decades was not the appreciation of the yen that followed the Plaza Accord. It was the misguided attempts of the Japanese authorities to resist that appreciation.

24 Feb 2019 - 6:16AM

The cause of Japan’s lost decades was not the appreciation of the yen that followed the Plaza Accord. It was the misguided attempts of the Japanese authorities to resist that appreciation.

As US mulls new Plaza Accord, China should learn from Japan’s fate … but not the lesson it thinks
Abacus | Global car giants are the Nokia of today, rolling towards commercial extinction

At 140 years old, the internal combustion engine has had a good run and modern car companies are ill prepared for the next technological innovation

18 Feb 2019 - 6:45PM

At 140 years old, the internal combustion engine has had a good run and modern car companies are ill prepared for the next technological innovation

Global car giants are the Nokia of today, rolling towards commercial extinction
Abacus | Rahul Gandhi’s plans to end Indian poverty work economically, just not politically

The Congress leader wants to introduce a ‘quasi-universal basic rural income’. The figures add up, but a very vocal minority stands to lose

11 Feb 2019 - 9:00AM

The Congress leader wants to introduce a ‘quasi-universal basic rural income’. The figures add up, but a very vocal minority stands to lose

Rahul Gandhi’s plans to end Indian poverty work economically, just not politically
Abacus | Even in China, there’s no magic money tree. Modern monetary theory is an illusion

Can governments really just print money to fund public spending? Only if you want to end up like Venezuela or the Soviet Union

4 Feb 2019 - 10:15AM

Can governments really just print money to fund public spending? Only if you want to end up like Venezuela or the Soviet Union

Even in China, there’s no magic money tree. Modern monetary theory is an illusion
Abacus | The truth about China’s economy that Trump won’t get: there is no surplus

A major economic shift has taken place which has all but eliminated the structural surplus in China’s current account. And it’s good news for the global economy, even if Trump struggles to understand it

21 Jan 2019 - 2:59PM

A major economic shift has taken place which has all but eliminated the structural surplus in China’s current account. And it’s good news for the global economy, even if Trump struggles to understand it

The truth about China’s economy that Trump won’t get: there is no surplus
Abacus | Look to US, not China for the 2019 financial crisis. Here’s why

There’s a lingering feeling that the global economy is due another downturn – but while the West points to China, it’s the US that has most reason to worry. Something eerily similar to its subprime disaster is afoot

16 Jan 2019 - 6:05AM

There’s a lingering feeling that the global economy is due another downturn – but while the West points to China, it’s the US that has most reason to worry. Something eerily similar to its subprime disaster is afoot

Look to US, not China for the 2019 financial crisis. Here’s why
Abacus | Don’t count on China to toss the global economy a stimulus lifeline in 2019

Unlike in 2009, Beijing is focused on reducing financial risk and moving the economy toward a consumption-based model

7 Jan 2019 - 9:08AM

Unlike in 2009, Beijing is focused on reducing financial risk and moving the economy toward a consumption-based model

Don’t count on China to toss the global economy a stimulus lifeline in 2019
Abacus | A columnist confesses: I nailed belt and road, Hong Kong stocks not so much

From bitcoin to Huawei, Tom Holland takes stock of 2018 and comes clean about his crystal ball hits and misses

24 Dec 2018 - 2:36PM

From bitcoin to Huawei, Tom Holland takes stock of 2018 and comes clean about his crystal ball hits and misses

A columnist confesses: I nailed belt and road, Hong Kong stocks not so much
Abacus | Modi’s plans for India’s central bank borrow from the future

The resignation of Urjit Patel, governor of the Reserve Bank of India, is a sign the prime minister hopes to engineer short-term economic gain. What he’ll get is long-term pain

17 Dec 2018 - 10:04AM

The resignation of Urjit Patel, governor of the Reserve Bank of India, is a sign the prime minister hopes to engineer short-term economic gain. What he’ll get is long-term pain

Modi’s plans for India’s central bank borrow from the future
Abacus | Don’t ask why US acted against China’s Huawei. Ask: why now?
  • The arrest of CFO Meng Wanzhou is a rude shock to those who thought the trade war might be ending. The US says Huawei breached restrictions on business with Iran – but could it have breached UN sanctions too?
12 Dec 2018 - 8:45PM
  • The arrest of CFO Meng Wanzhou is a rude shock to those who thought the trade war might be ending. The US says Huawei breached restrictions on business with Iran – but could it have breached UN sanctions too?
Don’t ask why US acted against China’s Huawei. Ask: why now?
Abacus | Why falling steel prices in Shanghai mean rising smog in Beijing

Steel yourself, there’s bad news for anyone with asthma or who likes to see the Fragrant Hills from their office block this winter

3 Dec 2018 - 10:04AM

Steel yourself, there’s bad news for anyone with asthma or who likes to see the Fragrant Hills from their office block this winter

Why falling steel prices in Shanghai mean rising smog in Beijing
Abacus | Xi-Trump summit could go either way. But either way, it’s bad

Even if there’s a breakthrough in Buenos Aires, it will do nothing to prevent the epochal storm ahead in US-China ties

26 Nov 2018 - 8:04AM

Even if there’s a breakthrough in Buenos Aires, it will do nothing to prevent the epochal storm ahead in US-China ties

Xi-Trump summit could go either way. But either way, it’s bad
Abacus | Xi’s sudden embrace of private firms can’t solve China’s economic problems

This is no conversion to free market principles. With the state sector overleveraged, the Chinese president is looking elsewhere for a growth boost – but the idea just doesn’t add up

19 Nov 2018 - 10:03AM

This is no conversion to free market principles. With the state sector overleveraged, the Chinese president is looking elsewhere for a growth boost – but the idea just doesn’t add up

Xi’s sudden embrace of private firms can’t solve China’s economic problems
Abacus | China property: if they tell you it’s a bear market, it’s bull

Far from falling prices, the real problem for China’s leaders is how to stop the market overheating. Who writes these headlines anyway?  

12 Nov 2018 - 11:07AM

Far from falling prices, the real problem for China’s leaders is how to stop the market overheating. Who writes these headlines anyway?  

China property: if they tell you it’s a bear market, it’s bull
Abacus | A deal on tariffs won’t end the US-China economic cold war
  • The US-China trade war has gone far beyond tariffs – and there are ominous implications for the world as the two countries move closer to all-out protectionism
9 Nov 2018 - 6:21AM
  • The US-China trade war has gone far beyond tariffs – and there are ominous implications for the world as the two countries move closer to all-out protectionism
A deal on tariffs won’t end the US-China economic cold war
Abacus | Trump’s trade war is not behind China’s stock market slump

Markets in the US and China have been primarily propelled by domestic drivers. Likewise, the fall in China’s shares stems from Beijing’s campaign to crack down on the shadow financial system

27 Oct 2018 - 2:37PM

Markets in the US and China have been primarily propelled by domestic drivers. Likewise, the fall in China’s shares stems from Beijing’s campaign to crack down on the shadow financial system

Trump’s trade war is not behind China’s stock market slump
Abacus | Khashoggi killing could drive Saudi Arabia into China’s arms

The alleged killing of dissident Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi could have far-reaching repercussions for the country’s economic ties with the West. And where Western executives fear to tread, Chinese companies will rush in

1 Nov 2018 - 4:13PM

The alleged killing of dissident Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi could have far-reaching repercussions for the country’s economic ties with the West. And where Western executives fear to tread, Chinese companies will rush in

Khashoggi killing could drive Saudi Arabia into China’s arms
Abacus | Don't be put off by a softening property market - Hong Kong can handle it

The recent slide in the city’s shares was tinged with the fear that local home prices may fall too. But while residential property is not as attractive an investment as it used to be, an economic slump isn’t on the cards

15 Oct 2018 - 2:25PM

The recent slide in the city’s shares was tinged with the fear that local home prices may fall too. But while residential property is not as attractive an investment as it used to be, an economic slump isn’t on the cards

Don't be put off by a softening property market - Hong Kong can handle it
Abacus | China has a golden opportunity to become Asia’s monetary power

As Beijing reduces its reliance on the US dollar for international trade, it may be seeking to overcome the yuan’s credibility problem by anchoring it to gold.

8 Oct 2018 - 7:52AM

As Beijing reduces its reliance on the US dollar for international trade, it may be seeking to overcome the yuan’s credibility problem by anchoring it to gold.

China has a golden opportunity to become Asia’s monetary power
Abacus | Asia faces a devil’s bargain over US sanctions on Iran’s oil

Donald Trump’s re-imposition of sanctions on Tehran leaves oil importers with a stark choice: pay punishing prices on the open market, or buy cheaply from Iran and face the wrath of the United States.

1 Oct 2018 - 7:02AM

Donald Trump’s re-imposition of sanctions on Tehran leaves oil importers with a stark choice: pay punishing prices on the open market, or buy cheaply from Iran and face the wrath of the United States.

Asia faces a devil’s bargain over US sanctions on Iran’s oil
Abacus | Typhoon Mangkhut: hey Carrie Lam, a day off for Hong Kong made economic sense

Strange as it might seem, allowing most workers to down tools for a day would have subtracted nothing from Hong Kong’s economic output. And a full-scale clean-up could even have added to GDP. Here’s how.

29 Sep 2018 - 2:36PM

Strange as it might seem, allowing most workers to down tools for a day would have subtracted nothing from Hong Kong’s economic output. And a full-scale clean-up could even have added to GDP. Here’s how.

Typhoon Mangkhut: hey Carrie Lam, a day off for Hong Kong made economic sense
Abacus | Lehman crash, 10 years on: nearly all you read will be wrong

Bankers did not cause the 2008 financial crisis, governments did. And in failing to learn from their mistakes, they have made another crash inevitable

29 Sep 2018 - 2:36PM

Bankers did not cause the 2008 financial crisis, governments did. And in failing to learn from their mistakes, they have made another crash inevitable

Lehman crash, 10 years on: nearly all you read will be wrong
Abacus | It’s not 2008. Don’t look to Beijing for a big stimulus programme

A strong dollar, weak commodities and slowing growth have left some hoping Beijing will step on the accelerator. But the Chinese economy has changed – and besides, it already has all the flashy infrastructure it needs

27 Aug 2018 - 9:02AM

A strong dollar, weak commodities and slowing growth have left some hoping Beijing will step on the accelerator. But the Chinese economy has changed – and besides, it already has all the flashy infrastructure it needs

It’s not 2008. Don’t look to Beijing for a big stimulus programme
Abacus | Turkey’s crisis shows a deeper disease – and Asia is infected too

The asphyxiating lira is a canary in a coal mine full of developing countries at the mercy of a strengthening dollar. Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and India should all hold their breath.

20 Aug 2018 - 2:36PM

The asphyxiating lira is a canary in a coal mine full of developing countries at the mercy of a strengthening dollar. Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and India should all hold their breath.

Turkey’s crisis shows a deeper disease – and Asia is infected too
Abacus | Why Facebook and Google’s China dream will cost more than it pays

Even if the tech giants succeed in gaining a toehold in the China market they will start at a disadvantage to local competitors, face labyrinthine regulation and leave themselves open to interference from Beijing.

13 Aug 2018 - 8:07AM

Even if the tech giants succeed in gaining a toehold in the China market they will start at a disadvantage to local competitors, face labyrinthine regulation and leave themselves open to interference from Beijing.

Why Facebook and Google’s China dream will cost more than it pays