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Selected televised and public appearances listed by topic.

Apple's geoeconomic realities in China

Newsroom, CNN, January 2019

An example of how the "geoeconoomix" of markets, technology, and geopolitics inter-relate, Apple has been facing a broad spectrum of opportunities and challenges in China. The country is the company's largest overseas market, its primary base for manufacturing high-tech products, and produces a lengthening list of geopolitical headaches. Getting a grip on the extent that each of these forces affects the performance of a company like Apple is not easy, however. As with China's best known tech company, Huawei, Apple finds itself caught in the crossfire of the US-China trade war. Nevertheless, even with active politicization and government intervention in China's domestic markets, the behavior of Chinese consumers that drive Apple sales in the country largely adheres to market factors. Some are macro and beyond any company's control—slowing GDP, for instance—but others relate to microeconomic conditions—such as the rising competitiveness of Chinese brands—and require new market strategies to address.

Hong Kong: Making sense of the turmoil

USC US-China Institute, Asia Society of Southern California, September 2019

Robert Koepp On The Civil Unrest In Hong

From mid 2019, the generally placid and extremely business-minded city of Hong Kong witnessed the greatest political turmoil in half a century. The underpinning causes are complex, but carefully examining contributing political and economic elements offers important insights. One of the biggest misinterpretations about Hong Kong's standing in the global economy has been that the wave of anti-China protests have irreparably damaged the Special Administrative Region's role as a commercial gateway to the world's second largest economy. Hong Kong has suffered genuine economic pain with key sectors, notably retail and hospitality, hit especially hard. Yet these are far from body blows for the SAR. In fact, until China more fully opens up the mainland economy, geoeconomically the rest of China will depend more on Hong Kong than Hong Kong depends on the PRC. 

Xi Jinping appointed China's president for life

Newsday, BBC, March 2018

Beijing's opaque political system offers fertile ground for varied speculation about the country's power structure and future direction. After Xi Jinping solidified his broadening mandate by having himself proclaimed president for life in March 2018, interest in discerning the true intentions of the PRC's leadership has grown. President Xi now stands as the most empowered leader since Mao. Yet China today is a far cry from that of the Maoist era. Even without constitutional limits for its head of state, there are practical boundaries—in many (but far from all) ways similar to social pacts between the government and governed in the West. As Xi concentrates his power, other Asian nations are taking note, with potentially far-reaching consequences for political alignments across the region.

Japan-Korea trade and political relations

Inside Story, Al Jazeera, July 2019

Robert Koepp Al Jazeera Inside Story Jap

US-China tensions dominate headlines on global trade issues. Yet beneath the surface of large-scale commercial frictions brew many regional trade skirmishes that warrant attention too. Flash points in Asia glow particularly hot. Considering their disproportionate importance to international technology supply chains, repeated trade clashing between Japan and South Korea pose special challenges for each nation's economy and the world at large. Tomohiko Taniguchi of Japan's Keio University and Se-Woong Ku of Korea Expose join the discussion.

Geely, Alibaba and the G20

Dialogue, CCTV, September 2016

Robert Koepp CCTV 2016 G20 Geely.jpg

China Central Television's Wang Mangmang graciously allowed me to tag along with her for part of her special coverage on China's hosting of the G20 Summit in Hangzhou in September 2016. Together we visited two leading local companies, automobile maker Geely and e-commerce giant Alibaba. Although state-owned CCTV undeniably seeks to put a positive spin on China's global ambitions, its broadcasts can themselves be instructive for understanding how China views its role in the world order. Dialogue is one of the more free-wheeling of CCTV's programs and per normal discussions with interviewees were unscripted, revealing aspects of how these Chinese companies perceive international opportunities and challenges. 

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