Southeast Asian countries have varied approaches and levels of engagement when it comes to Chinese involvement in their national telecom sectors. Singapore decided not to use Huawei in developing its national 5G networks and instead awarded contracts to Ericsson and Nokia, while in Vietnam, there is strong reluctance to use Huawei equipment or allow China a significant role in national telecom infrastructure. The telecom sector in Indonesia and the Philippines, however, has shown considerable openness toward Huawei, and the equipment is typically cost-competitive and comes with upskilling for workers. In Thailand, AIS and True are the two major players in the telecom space, with China Mobile holding a 10% stake in True. Malaysia has created a state-owned company Digital Nasional Berhad (DNB) to oversee the construction of a national 5G network and recently selected Ericsson to build it. However, concerns about security risks have emerged, and Malaysia has indicated it will consider any vendor offering the best deal. States in Southeast Asia have different economic, national, and strategic interests that shape their perceptions of China and willingness to engage.

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By hassani

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