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Asia Update

August 2020

Asia-related activities of Bertelsmann Stiftung and insights into important developments in the region.



China’s Footprint in Central Asia

European thought traditionally imagines Central Asia as a remote and disconnected “hinterland”. It is no less of a cliché, but it would be more useful to think of the region as a Eurasian core, as the geographical centrality of the region and competition between great powers do imbue Central Asia with greater relevance. The EU has designated China as an “economic competitor” and a “systemic rival”. If the new “geopolitical Commission” truly wants to mitigate Beijing’s influence, Central Asia is a good place to exercise its nascent geopolitical muscle, writes Jacob Mardell in our latest Policy Brief.



Geopolitical Ambitions in the Black Sea Region

The region around the Black and Caspian Sea is increasingly becoming a conflict zone. Important trade and energy routes pass through this area linking Europe and Asia. Our new policy paper analyses the roles of the EU, Russia, China, Turkey and other actors in the region and explores opportunities for European policy. The report is part of the Bertelsmann Stiftung's Key States Initiative, which examines the power architecture and scenarios for future development in the EU's immediate neighbourhood and intends to provide impulses for peace, stability and prosperity. Read it here (Only available in German).



Corona Crisis and Social Cohesion in Asia

To investigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on social cohesion and the importance of social cohesion for overcoming the crisis, it is worth looking beyond the German and European borders. In Asia you can find some very successful examples of how to deal with the crisis, argues Peter Walkenhorst in his blog post (Only available in German).



How Germany Trades

China is Germany’s largest trading partner and a key market for German companies. But when put into perspective, Germany’s trade with China and other Asian countries makes up less than a fifth of its total imports and exports. Trade within Europe is three times bigger. Read and download the infographic here.



The World after COVID-19: Are we Heading into a New Systemic Competition?

We have launched a series of online conversations to explore how the looming systemic competition between liberal democracies and China is impacting business and politics. We already had a number of very interesting sessions, co-hosted with partner institutions all over Germany. No matter if you are a business association, a political institution, a professional group, a university or a school – if you are  interested in co-organising an online discussion with us, please get in touch via asien@bertelsmann-stiftung.deWatch this short (German) video for further information.



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Dr. Peter Walkenhorst

Senior Project Manager


Bertelsmann Stiftung

Carl-Bertelsmann-Str. 256

33311 Gütersloh


Tel: +49 5241 81-81172




The Bertelsmann Stiftung, based in Gütersloh, Germany, is a nonprofit, private

operating foundation in accordance with Section 1 of North Rhine-Westphalia's Foundation Law.

The district government of Detmold serves as its supervisory authority.

Founder: Reinhard Mohn

Chairman of the Board of Trustees: Prof. Dr. Werner J. Bauer

Executive Board: Dr. Ralph Heck (Chairman), Dr. Brigitte Mohn