Youth exchanges can build new economic bridges between China, Indonesia

By Hu Weijia Source:Global Times Published: 2018/4/1 21:58:40

"Not that long ago, having a Chinese book was strictly prohibited in Indonesia. But now the country's young people are attending Chinese universities by the thousands," the South China Morning Post (SCMP) reported Sunday.

China's relations with some Southeast Asian countries have long been affected by Asia's complex historical disputes, but exchanges and cooperation among young people offer the best chance to resolve regional conflicts.

According to the SCMP report, there are 14,000 Indonesians studying in China. In the first few days of their life in China, they must be surprised to find that e-commerce has become so popular. Online shopping is becoming a favorite among university students, while some of their Chinese classmates make money by starting online stores or delivering packages.

Statistics from consulting firm iResearch show the gross merchandise volume of China's online shopping reached 6.1 trillion yuan ($972 billion) in 2017. New concepts such as the internet economy and modern logistics services have become major sources of jobs for young people in China.

With a population of about 260 million, Indonesia is the world's fourth most populous nation. E-commerce can alleviate employment pressure for college grads in Indonesia, while its large population provides a basis for the development of the express delivery industry.

E-commerce cannot function without express delivery services. In the past two years, Chinese e-commerce company Inc has strengthened its business in Indonesia by building logistics warehouses and speeding deliveries to consumers. There is still a long way to go in developing logistics service in the country, which has more than 17,000 islands, and such efforts will help create jobs for local people, especially the youth.

Although the SCMP said Indonesia has a conflicted history not only with China but particularly Chinese language studies, a growing wave of young Indonesians have shown great enthusiasm for studying in China.

The digital economy, a new type of emerging economy that includes e-commerce, the digital sharing economy and various services, promotes exchange of young people.

They will determine the future of China-Indonesia relations. Further, China's Belt and Road initiative has received an increasing amount of attention among young people and can provide the starting point for their careers.

The author is a reporter with the Global Times.


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