Published daily by the Lowy Institute

Julian Snelder

Julian Snelder is a Kiwi who has resided in Asia for almost a quarter-century. He has lived in India and China and has also worked extensively in Japan, Korea and Taiwan. He worked for eight years at McKinsey & Company, and then eight years at Morgan Stanley where he ran the high-technology investment banking unit. Since 2005 he has been a partner in a global investments fund. He has two bachelors’ degrees, one in engineering from the University of Canterbury and the other in economics from Trinity College, Cambridge.

Articles by Julian Snelder (90)

  • China's march up the manufacturing value chain causing angst aplenty

    The China-US Strategic & Economic Dialogue ground through last week with the usual (ie. high) levels of acrimony. Some baby steps forward were achieved, but expectations for major breakthroughs on major initiatives like the Bilateral Investment Treaty are now so low that simply agreeing to continue negotiations generates relief. US Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew complained about the 'corrosive' impact of Chinese overcapacity in steel and aluminium.
  • Book review: War by Other Means

    What do Moldovan wine, Norwegian salmon, Philippine bananas and Dysprosium have in common? They are all instruments of political suasion exerted upon trading partners by China and Russia, weapons in an international War by Other Means. That is the title of a new book which urges the US to up its statecraft. 'The contest for leadership in Asia is being waged in primarily economic terms,' authors Robert Blackwill and Jennifer Harris argue elsewhere.
  • Will One Belt One Road pay off?

    One Belt One Road (OBOR) is just getting started, but the superlatives are flowing. OBOR 'will benefit 4.4 billion people in 65 countries' and 'according to some estimates could be more than 12 times America's Marshall Plan to aid post-second-world-war Western Europe, in comparable money-of-the-day terms.' No wonder expectations in recipient states are high. 
  • Witness the new great-power move: Big, fast, sudden, and unpredictable

    Russia’s surprise announcement earlier this month that it would drawback from Syria was lauded both in the West and at home as a tactical (if not strategic) masterstroke. Other leaders might hesitate, but not Vladimir Putin, who always seems 'one step ahead'. Barack Obama’s foreign policy has been revealed to be cautious and nuanced, a lead-from-behind restraint that his detractors say contrasts poorly with his counterpart in Moscow. Syria is chalked up as Putin’s 'coup'. 
  • Is there room for foreigner carmakers in China's electric future?

    China's car industry is the largest and most lucrative in the world. It is also an industrial policy failure. Local brands have only 28% market share. By forcing the global giants to enter 50/50 joint ventures (JVs) with state owned enterprises (SOEs), central planners expected a transfer of skills and technologies from one to the other. They've been disappointed. The JVs, secure in their provincial bastions, relaxed on a tide of profits from foreign technology and brands.
  • Japan and China wrestle for ascendancy in Southeast Asia's railway Great Game

    Luang Namtha in northern Laos is a sleepy wildlife reserve, popular with backpackers. In future it may become a vital geopolitical pivot point. Here the northern corridor to the Chinese metropolis of Kunming intersects with routes east into Myanmar, west into Vietnam, and south through Laos to Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore. It's been 15 years since I visited, but back then the main economic activity (besides tourism) appeared to be gathering rice and bundles of firewood.
  • The next oil shock: Peak demand

    In August and September 2010, Chinese coal convoys caused the largest traffic jams ever — though no-one present cheered that achievement. Three weeks later the Brazilian multinational Petrobras set its own world record, raising US$70 billion in equity and Brazilians, characteristically more fun-loving than Chinese truck drivers, samba-danced in triumph. In hindsight those two distant events might have signaled a zenith in the oil market.
  • The next geo-financial battle: Is China a market economy?

    2015 was the year of China's global financial 'coronation'. The authorities achieved several major strategic breakthroughs: the formation of the AIIB; the designation of the yuan currency to the IMF's special drawing rights (SDR) basket (earning 'reserve currency' status in Beijing’s view); and they pressed the IMF itself into long-overdue voting reforms. In all these cases Europe was more supportive of China's goals than the US (and Japan less so).
  • Hong Kong whodunit: A publisher of salacious tales disappears from the wormhole city

    Only a minute's drive west from the downtown Central district of Asia's World City is a nondescript commercial pier. Ferries shuttle in and out to various destinations in the Pearl River Delta. Other non-scheduled vessels berth here too, their purposes less plain. The rigorously professional Hong Kong police and customs services have less supervision here than elsewhere in Hong Kong.