torsdag 24. juni 2021

Chinese private security presence is growing in Southeast Asia, report finds

Chinese businesses with risky investments in Southeast Asia's Mekong region are increasingly turning to legal, China-based private security companies for protection, according to a new report. The Washington-based Center for Advanced Defense Studies (C4ADS) found that China-based companies account for 29 of the 49 foreign private security firms operating in Cambodia and Myanmar, the only two countries in the Mekong where official corporate registries provide enough information to confirm foreign ownership, C4ADS said. The next-highest was Malaysia, with just four.

Data from C4ADS shows these companies were incorporated steadily since 2013, with spikes in 2019 and 2020. While C4ADS could not definitively determine what was behind the growth, the timing is likely tied to the rise of China's Belt and Road Initiative, Chinese President Xi Jinping's ambitious, trillion-dollar global infrastructure project that aims to connect Beijing with markets throughout Asia. Chinese companies have flocked overseas seeking new investment opportunities tied to Belt and Road. Like their Western counterparts, Chinese private security firms offer various security and protection services to clients overseas operating in dangerous areas, including parts of Africa and Latin America.