23.8% Taiwan Conflict 2024 Odds (Russian Roulette), China & USA Decoupling vs. Containment & Southeast Asia Upside vs. Startup Risk Management - E274

· Southeast Asia,VC and Angels,Podcast,Podcast Episodes English


"What does it mean when each economy is going back to the spheres and how do technology companies handle it? The first thing that came to mind is limited access to Taiwanese semiconductors. We'll see the relocation of US chips or see chips from China, with no fancy or commercial applications. Suddenly, the cost of computing will go up. The most advanced microchips will be more expensive, and technologies reliant on them, such as mobile phones, virtual reality headsets, and AI, will be relatively more insulated from the rise of computing power." - Jeremy Au


"We see a lot of reshoring and moving manufacturing out of China that has benefited Southeast Asia. Thailand, Vietnam, and Singapore are seeing net inflows in manufacturing activity from American and Chinese factory capital, which is trying to get that 'made in Southeast Asia' brand. We still see a lot of talent from China moving to Southeast Asia to continue building and manufacturing, which is detrimental to some manufacturing towns in China."- Jeremy Au


"The Chinese are buying all the condos" is a headline that people love, but they are also starting businesses and diversifying away from a pure China play. Five years ago, the average Chinese entrepreneur would not have considered going outside of China because the world's greatest market was on their doorstep. Whether it is due to the COVID measures or the lockdown in Shanghai, Chinese entrepreneurs became more aware that it might be good to have an outside China strategy." - Shiyan Koh

In this discussion between Jeremy Au and Shiyan Koh, they reflect on the impact of global decoupling and the possible scenarios that could result from it. They discuss how the recent geopolitical tensions between China and the US have accelerated this trend, and how it could affect startups and businesses around the world. They suggest that businesses should prepare for a range of scenarios, including the possibility of supply chain disruptions and political instability. Some measures that startups could take include identifying their dependencies on supply chains, preparing efficiency measures, and having a list of contingency plans.

The speakers also touch on the potential impact of global decoupling on immigration, with Chinese nationals considering localization of their immigration status in other South Asian countries. They discuss the waves of Chinese immigration and how localizing has helped these communities to weather political tensions in their host countries. Ultimately, they offer a hopeful message, citing the historical resilience of humanity in the face of conflict and war. Overall, the discussion highlights the need for businesses to be prepared for a range of scenarios and to consider the impact of geopolitical tensions on their operations.

Read more about the Taiwan conflict here.


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Jeremy Au: (00:39)

Good morning, Shiyan.


Shiyan Koh: (00:42)

Good morning. It's an hour earlier for me than it is for you.


Jeremy Au: (00:46)

I know. Really cranking out. Can we give you another double dosage of, I was going to say coffee, but that looks like tea?


Shiyan Koh: (00:52)

That's all they have in the hotel room.


Jeremy Au: (00:53)

Oh no. That's like weak sauce. Okay, well, this topic hopefully wakes us up. Folks have been asking us to chat a little bit about the global decoupling of the US, China, and Taiwan, what it means for, tech and so, so forth. So I think a little bit about the macro side. How do you feel about this, topic within our zone of competence?


Shiyan Koh: (01:18)

Yeah, I mean I think talking is not hard for us to acknowledge our zone of competence and how we might string outside of it. It's interesting to discuss the business lens on it, but in terms of what's going on behind the scenes on the political front, I'm not sure I feel super qualified to opine. We just, we are also reading the same news reports as everybody else, right?


Jeremy Au: (01:47)

I guess so. There’s the meme that goes about how all the VCs became military experts during the Ukraine conflict.


Shiyan Koh: (01:57)

I don't have that problem. I was never a military expert. I don't want to be and don't want to purport to be. So I think, let's stay within business startups, technology. I think those are all good places to keep our focus. It would be remiss of us not to discuss some of the major macro trends impacting the industry and in Singapore in particular, being a small country sandwich between these two global giants, it's pretty hard to ignore, right? I think if you're an average Chinese person or an average American person, you can kind of go about your daily life and probably not think about it too much. It's the benefit of living in a superpower, but if you are a small country, you don't have that luxury.


Jeremy Au: (02:45)

I think there are two things that are quite clear. One is there is definitely movement going on today in terms of the global decoupling, and two is that we know that there is some level of risk where the conflict could take a much more severe turn, in the case of Taiwan and semiconductors. We actually have some numbers around the probability of that happening. So why don't we start first a little bit about what we think is already happening for sure. You mentioned, for sure superpowers are making moves on each other and I think Southeast Asia, like Singapore, is also very much trying to be neutral or try to play both sides. So I think, we are already seeing that this global decoupling is the new phrase of the year. We're just shorthand for saying, okay, we have so much manufacturing that's happening in China, how do we move out of it?

So we see a lot of, we used to call it mere shoring or French shoring. We're just moving manufacturing out of China and that's actually benefited Southeast Asia. So, Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore, also net inflows and manufacturing activity from, American factory capital from Chinese capital as well who are trying to get that Southeast Asia made in Southeast Asia brand and we still see a lot of talents from China actually move to Southeast Asia to continue building and manufacturing. So it's already happening, to the detriment of some of the manufacturing towns in China as well. I think you mentioned something about Apple a few weeks back. What do you think about that?


Shiyan Koh: (04:24)

There has been a lot of news about Apple trying to diversify out of their Chinese manufacturing base and I think Tim Cook was recently in India opening the first Apple store they're starting to assemble iPhones in India but the parts are still made in China, so, I think a lot of consumer electronics have been intertwined with China for so long that even if you want to decouple, I think it really takes time and not to mention. It isn't as simple as hey, let me just copy and paste a factory from one country to another but there's the entire ecosystem of labor-trained, labor-skilled labor and subcontractors and all the parts that go into something that you have to move a whole bunch of people. So I think everyone believes it is better not to be in conflict. I don't think that being in a war is a better state for anyone.


Jeremy Au: (05:28)

For some people, it is a better state.


Shiyan Koh: (05:30)

Yeah, if you manufacture munitions, sure, for you it's better. Outside of that, I don't think there are clear beneficiaries and so I think we have to plan for the worst, hope for the best kind of situation.


Jeremy Au: (05:50)

One man's nationalist is another man's patriot. So I think what you're saying is true, which is that global decoupling is not costless, that everyone's like, oh, decoupling is a way to diversify. That makes sense, but I think what's interesting is that it actually does two things. One is that firstly, there's a fictional cost because things are just more expensive when you're no longer producing in the lowest-cost country around the world. So obviously the cost of that goes up, and inflation goes up but the second thing is that it actually opens up the solution space or the possibility of more conflict because now, you feel less dependent on each other, less independent. Someone was telling me we are the only generation of grown-ups without a major cold war.

Is the major war happening? And then it wasn't at a whole articles about how we're so economically interdependent because we want to do that so that we have less military conflict. I don't know. It's kind of interesting to see that, I don't know, global post-war. I know peace trade agreements, all these stuff is kind of like, I wouldn't say flying out a window yet, but it's like sliding out for the exit a little bit and it's depressing because then, if every country picks the best state champion for everything, manufacturing, technology, et cetera, then there might be some large kind of consequences for founders who are trying to use technology to scale. There are a lot of consequences for VCs that are dependent on global capital flows.


Shiyan Koh: (07:27)

You lose some of the efficiencies from specialization. The whole very basic trade, but I don't know. We recently invested in a company in Mexico that is trying to basically be the Alibaba of LATAM and obviously addressing the US market and lifting up Latin American manufacturers who can sell into the US. I mean, there was a crazy stat one of them gave me, which was, there are like 2000 plus avocado oil merchants on Ali and only 10 of them are in Mexico and he is like, that doesn't make any sense. There are clear advantages to be able to say hey, I'm going to ship from Mexico into the US rather than I'm going to like a ship from Asia or wherever else into the US, but you haven't had the benefit of that. All the infrastructure that was built and all the companies that were built in the last 20 years were really focused on like raising up Chinese suppliers, and so maybe one silver lining is part of the decoupling is that regions that haven't historically gotten as much investment will get more and they can, over time become more efficient as well. I mean that's the, I don't know, fingers crossed, silver lining types of benefit and I think you see this happening in Vietnam, which is a lot of investment from the Japanese and the Koreans. It actually really helps the talent base in Vietnam. So I have founders who are like, yeah, we actually have really incredible manufacturing engineers and mechanical engineers because we've now had at least a decade of investment by the Japanese and the Koreans and that makes it easier to start companies that require that skillset and so that sort of gives the rise of the rest and whatnot. Not just, in China.


Jeremy Au: (09:22)

Yeah, I think Tudor at Touch On Ventures has announced that she's trying to do much more like robotics and manufacturing, which is kind of a novel thesis, because in Southeast Asia, most folks, I'm not really focused on hardware, but the fact that she's based in Vietnam and that Vietnam tailwind is happening and there's a talent base to do it, actually makes it a viable strategy and I think, you mentioned the Japanese and South Koreans. Actually, that's a huge part of what's happening. I think they used to invest a lot in China, but because of this risk, I think a lot of them are now moving their capital and their talents to Southeast Asia again, to diversify, to look for growth returns but it's quite interesting to watch as well.


Shiyan Koh: (10:05)

Yeah, and I think the Chinese themselves are also moving into Southeast Asia. So, I think that the headlines people always love are like, the Chinese are buying all the condos. They're driving out all the prices. However, they're also starting businesses, and they're also trying to diversify out of a pure China play and I think it's interesting. I would guess, I don't know, maybe five years ago, if your average Chinese entrepreneur would not think to go outside of China because it's like, why bother? I've got the world's greatest market on my doorstep. Why would I go make my life difficult and try to address some sort of fragmented Southeast Asia thing? I think that has changed, and so maybe whether it is the Covid measures or the lockdown in Shanghai, the things that have happened to Jack Ma and the online education business, it's made Chinese entrepreneurs more aware that it might be good to have an outside China strategy.


Jeremy Au: (11:04)

I have literally met Chinese founders in Southeast Asia, and one of them actually said, I'm here in Southeast Asia because my schoolmate went to jail before the IPO and so she doesn't want to build in China. So historically, this is not the first wave of Chinese immigration. Heck, my great-grandparents left China because of turmoil. That was more of a push factor rather than a pull factor but this won't be the last wave of immigration, and I think we actually see Southeast Asia, multiple stacks. Obviously, you have Southeast Asians, and then you also see the Chinese. You've seen the Indians. You see the Americans who have always kind of had that multinational or global point of view. I think you've obviously had the Germans via Rocket Internet and to the next extent, I think the whole European and INSEAD group all kind of like tagged along that pipe, right to Southeast Asia.

Actually, when I went to Vietnam and Cambodia, there are a lot of people who are French connected, because of their historical ties, putting it nicely there, but also adding to the two-way refugee flows. So there's that exposure. And then like you said, I think, over a hundred thousand Russians have arrived in places like Thailand and in Bali, and they're all, they're families or they're single males. So a lot of them are, as you said, setting up businesses, buying out a property. I was in Cambodia and they were also saying like, the Chinese also bought a town and now they're all setting up businesses for their own community, but also starting to like looking for local business partners. So I think there's a massive actual talent injection that has just happened over the past three years.

I mean, it was not obvious to me, to be honest, but I think it just became more obvious if you like to travel. Everyone's complaining and I think the pattern emerges like, yeah, this is this location, actually that's very spiky of talent and obviously, it doesn't mean it's a startup in that base, but if you ask me, I spend a lot of time now to be like, I make sure to meet and see who else wants to be a founder out there, because why not? Great talent can build anywhere, especially if you're from Bali, right next to the beach or something. Hey, there are some great cove spaces there. I remember I went there 10 years ago. One of those nice cove spaces, there’s a little massage and juice, and I was asking myself, I need to figure out where, how to live there. But now I have two daughters. It's impossible.


Shiyan Koh: (13:28)

There's apparently a number of Singaporean families that live in Bali where the working parents still stay in Singapore, but the kids and the non-working parents stay in Bali to escape the Singapore education system.


Jeremy Au: (13:45)

Clearly a push factor there, but I think there's actually a fair point, which is that there is remote work now, which also didn't use to exist three, or four years ago. So I think that's also made this global arena more possible.


Shiyan Koh: (14:01)

Yeah, but I mean, Bali's Bali, man, when you go there, you just feel like you're on vacation. I don't know if I could grind in Bali. It would feel too sad.


Jeremy Au: (14:11)

Well, you have an upcoming event in Bali and I just met some founders online. They're grinding in a villa in Bali. I mean, there's a bunch of co-founders and employees living in the same space.


Shiyan Koh: (14:22)

Maybe if you could do that and I know some firms that, because of the pandemic, a bunch of their employees wound up moving to Bali out of Jakarta for better air quality and all that sort of stuff and so, yeah, it's totally possible. I think I'm just saying it's probably a personal limitation. When I go to Bali, I feel like, oh, I'm in paradise. I can just relax a bit.


Jeremy Au: (14:45)

Yeah and I think one of the portfolio companies, Midstay, has actually seen that for us themselves, right? This huge wave of relocation and this immigration factor. So what else is happening for the global decoupling slash containment approach?


Shiyan Koh: (15:03)

I think the most recent one that I saw was that China had cut off access to some information services for external, like if they detect that your IP address is outside of China, they don't actually give you access to some of these information services and some of them were not national security-related necessarily. It's like hey, I want to look up a company's share registry, who are the shareholders? You get a popup that's like hey, it looks like you're outside China. You can't use this and so I, I don't know.

I think the more you make it hard for people to access information, the harder it is for external capital to invest, and the more it becomes like unless you're China, Chinese, beware, don't bother. I don't know what the end game is in there. And so, that is interesting. And then, they rated Bain, and one of those expert network companies, Vision. So, I think it's definitely casting a chill, right? I think it's making people think, okay, how do I want to allocate resources as it pertains to China? But I mean, the US is also like, they've got the CHIPS act.


Jeremy Au: (16:22)

That's a big one actually.


Shiyan Koh: (16:23)

They've got CFIUS, like all this other stuff. So, I don't know. We live in interesting times, I suppose.


Jeremy Au: (16:30)

Yeah, I think that's actually the huge part of that directly releases tech. I totally forgot about that, which is that America has effectively enacted a ban on chip technology in China, right? It’s a crazy thing if you think about it. I can't imagine anybody doing that to America.


Shiyan Koh: (16:48)

Well then, I think the Chinese are retaliating with their investigation of Micron, and a US company and it has, it's like one-quarter of their revenue is Chinese-sourced.


Jeremy Au: (16:58)

I agree about the retaliation part. I'm just saying I think it's kind of crazy to think this off like, you are asking your entire ally network to not export a class of technology that previously everybody was happily using. It's a two-way relationship, because you license our technology, and then they manufactured those chips in China, and then they went into American cars and fridges and everything else, right? That's how inflation was magically low for 10 years. Was it because there was a trade? It's like hey, we can manufacture cheap stuff in Southeast Asia and China, right?


Shiyan Koh: (17:31)

I mean, it's an argument to keep more things in cash and then the Fed raised rates again today. Yeah, we even talk about First Republic getting shotgun marriage bought, whatever analogy you want to use JP Morgan over the weekend.


Jeremy Au: (17:49)

We're talking about this as well. I think this is still at least manageable, right? Because this is what's happening, but we're talking about the large, discontinuous business risk. I guess we are Nassim Taleb, everyone's favourite author as good as Black Swan, but I think one of the big things that everyone's reading on the news is the high perception that there's going to be some sort of military conflict on Taiwan and I was just reading this foreign policy report and the article was very beautiful. It was like the majority of IR experts believe there'll be no conflict over, war over Taiwan next year, in 2024. And I was like, oh, how reassuring. And then I read deep and then I read, clicked in, I read the rest, and then they were like, okay, that's how we measured it. But we also measured them by saying, what do you think is your personal estimate of the probability of that chance? So now it's a scale of 1 to 100. Not yes or no and then basically the average rating of everybody's score is like 23.8%.

So basically, they're saying on average, everybody doesn't think a war will happen in Taiwan, but if we all scored it, we think there's a 22.8% chance of it happening, and Spencer Christensen, a Harvard MBA classmate of mine who was chatting about it, basically said, this is the equivalent of you saying someone giving you a Russian roulette revolver and basically saying, on average, it's not going to kill you, but one of the four chambers as one bullet. So feel free and pull the trigger. And I was just laughing and laughing and laughing. I think the whole business world feels like it is walking, it's basically saying like war's not going to happen on average, but, I think all the supply chain guys are basically working their asses off right now they feel the risk that one in four chance of things going bad.


Shiyan Koh: (19:42)

I would bet like a year ago on the eve of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, people on average did not believe that Russia was going to do it, and look, here we are a year later but I don't know, I mean, I kind of really hope we at least get through the US election cycle.


Jeremy Au: (20:03)

That's only like a year, one more year of peace. One year at a time there.


Shiyan Koh: (20:16)

I don't know, it's really disheartening. I think that the only thing Democrats and Republicans are united on is that China is bad.


Jeremy Au: (20:26)

Yeah, and I think there are VCs that have done really well, actually, because they're invested primarily in defense tech. Startups are doing defense. So Underrail is a big one, with Peter Thiel backing but, there's a whole bunch of that and now we shared the article on the information. This just talks about the VCs kind of like, touring Asia and discussing that the government needs to invest more in defense tech, for national security concerns. I thought it was very interesting and yeah, it is the one thing they can agree on.


Shiyan Koh: (20:58)

I mean, I kind of wish they would agree on something else, like gun violence or housing, or the opioid epidemic, other things that maybe should occupy them rather than running around kind of war-mongering.


Jeremy Au: (21:12)

Yeah. I think most people actually want peace, but like you said, I think there's very strong interest to just keep the conversation focused. As you said earlier, I think we should focus on what I think the business and startup focus on. One thing I do think about is, okay, look, this is a scenario. Effectively one in four chance, whatever you want to call it, one in eight. If you think they're wrong, let's half it maybe one in two if you're really worried. Based on the headlines, I think, but it is a business risk. So let's talk about a scenario. I was reading this report that basically, they think that if this happens, it's going to be obviously a conflict, it's a hot conflict, but the key thing they're talking about is that all economic supply chains are going to break around the world because US-China is so interwoven, right?

So I thought it was a really interesting conversation because yeah, what does it mean when each economy is kind of going back to the spheres, and how do technology companies handle it? The first thing, I thought of is that there'll be no more access or limited access to Taiwanese semiconductors. That's one, but also I think we're going to see relocation of US chips or they're going to see Chinese chips from China, because of their local domestic requirements and maybe even military requirements but if that happens, I think that means the cost of computing goes up, because now, it's more expensive. They're not going here for fancy stuff or commercial applications and then suddenly I think you're going to see the cost of compute go up and I think the stuff that's also reliant on the most advanced microchips, like mobile phones, virtual reality headsets, AI, all this stuff is, there's the most advanced type of technology. China chips obviously get much more expensive as a cost of service, cost of goods sold, the operating costs and I think some of the SaaS and direct-to-consumer, these, they don't use a lot of computing power, actually. So those are going to be, at some level, maybe relatively more insulated from the rise of computing power.


Shiyan Koh: (23:11)

Yeah, maybe people will become more efficient. I don't know. There are always these pictures or like hey, NASA sent people to the moon on the computing power equivalent to that of your cell phone or you're a calculator, and so maybe what you see is people building more computationally efficient methods. You could do a lot of things on a raspberry pie, but mostly you don't bother, because you have such easy access to compute.

Jeremy Au: (23:46)

We see a little bit of sustainability because of the energy crisis as well as a climate crisis. We talked about it in the last podcast. We see companies push for efficiency, which turns out to be cost savings in terms of electricity. So yeah, I think there's that. In fact, actually, I do have a friend, Jeraldine, a prior BRAVE guest, but she works at Spot, which basically reduces cloud computing power. So you install a service and then they make it more efficient, which is I think a very, well I think it's important saving, but I don't think it's a must-do when the cost of computing seems to be relatively cheap for a long time and feel stable for a long time, right, but I think, like you said, in this scenario, a company value proposition like that would be quite, would be a requirement, right? If your cost of computing goes up by 20%. Yeah. You, you want to save, right?


Shiyan Koh: (24:37)

Yeah. I wonder if also maybe people become more inward-looking, more domestically focused, yeah. Trying to I mean, I think you saw this a little bit in the pandemic, right? Which is that the pandemic kind of made Singapore a lot more aware of how food safety was actually really an issue and really kind of sharpened the focus on like, hey, actually we should try to increase the percent of the food that has grown locally, versus always just trying to optimize for like hey, how many places can we import from? And so I wonder if there's also sort of increased kind of domestic focus or closer to home, maybe more regional rather than global focus as people kind of like, I don't know, pulling the drawbridges, whatever the right analogy is.


Jeremy Au: (25:23)

That's a super fair point. I mean, we talked about it again in the last episode of sustainability, but we talked about electric vehicles, or at least battery manufacturing. Indonesia has gone up because obviously, they have a lot of nickel mines. So there's an economic incentive, but this was a, there's a diversification and national security incentive but you can imagine a scenario where, as all the Southeast Asian countries, electrified their vehicles and if there's conflict in two years or three years or four years, the export right of batteries from China will just go to zero effectively, because everyone's, I mean there's very tariffs now that have been implemented over the past five years, which has driven the domestic EV battery industries, but now it's going to go to zero. Then it'll be a big stimulus, I think, for domestic players. They're able to manufacture in the country. Crazy actually, now that you mentioned it, I never thought of it. It's kind of scary. Obviously, that means consumers pay more for tech, electric vehicles, et cetera, but it'd be good for startups that are in that scenario if you're doing battery manufacturing.


Shiyan Koh: (26:28)

I mean, I guess assuming that consumers' incomes aren't hit, yeah. maybe there's just a general pullback in consumption.


Jeremy Au: (26:37)

One thing I noticed was that a lot of goods in e-commerce, which tend to be first-gen unicorns, in Southeast Asia, a lot of the goods actually come from China, right? In terms of factories in terms of especially low-cost stuff, but even the medium-cost stuff actually. And I think Singapore and ASEAN are part of the RCEP, which is the free trade agreement of China. So I think technically the cost of living and the cost of goods has been dropping because of this dropping of mutual tariffs but you can imagine in a conflict scenario.


Shiyan Koh: (27:09)

I don't know. Don't you think would want to keep us on their side? I don't know why they would. They'd want to continue being able to export into this region.


Jeremy Au: (27:15)

Well, it depends on, I think, whether the US implements sanctions, or shipping controls in China. So I think we saw that with oil, obviously for the Russians. So you can imagine, I think you're right to say, China would prefer to continue exporting and trading, it could be disrupted, and that's kind of like I said then, your Southeast Asian consumer.


Shiyan Koh: (27:43)

So what should we do, Jeremy? Should we just run out and buy gold right now? Just start stacking gold bars under our beds.


Jeremy Au: (27:51)

Well, the problem of loving tech in the future is like, you have to think about the future. So, I don't know. But I think it's a real business risk. I think the pandemic, it's like the shared stories about how like 9-11 there were companies that actually had business risk planning, and so they actually did evacuation drills for 9-11 or some kind of fire or attack and they survived 9-11. In fact, I think I remember in that scenario the firm who did it, only the head of security went back up to help. He was the only person who passed away. The whole company made it and there was actually one of the few companies, bought it during the evacuation drills from a skyscraper. And obviously, the pandemic,The Case Foundation was probably one of the few organizations that ever did a simulation of the pandemic, which of course spawned a lot of the conspiracy theories down the road because it was publicized.

I remember watching it and it was kind of eerily similar and the pandemic was like, what a 1% chance from people's perspective. Yeah lower than that. So I think it's more like, the focus has to be, I know, I’m aware. I think that's one, be prepared. I don't know. I think actually a lot of startups are raising cash because if you're concerned about this macro environment. Interest rates and the US elections and this stuff, so they're raising cash just to have it, bridge rounds. That's another way that I've seen founders take action on it. If you're an EV vehicle, a company dependent on batteries, based on what you just said, it's a high risk. I mean, at minimum, there's increased tariffs and restrictions at worst, there's something spiky.


Shiyan Koh: (29:34)

Maybe generative AI will save us.


Jeremy Au: (29:38)

Maybe we just digitalize ourselves and just do a virtual economy using crypto only, and we don't have to worry about what happens in the meet space.


Shiyan Koh: (29:46)

I know you're being a bit facetious, but like a lot of our lives do happen online, like we mostly interact online. There are people with which your whole relationship with them is online and so like right now it's very one-to-one, right? One to a few, but you know, it's not a crazy thing to say, if you think like 20 years ago, what percent of people's lives is online. It was very little, right? So maybe we all just keep meeting in the metaverse.


Jeremy Au: (30:26)

Actually, that reminded me of the day. I think there's one thing we can do, which is, advocate for peace as if I have a direct line to the US Senate or the Chinese Border Bureau, but, I think hoping for peace and a peaceful resolution is one thing we could do maybe individually. I don't know how you can do it.


Shiyan Koh: (30:48)

So, I do not have such delusions of grandeur.


Jeremy Au: (30:51)

You're so different. You're so depressed. Oh, no.


Shiyan Koh: (30:54)

No, I'm not depressed. I'm not depressed. I'm just, I don't know really what we can do. You can prepare yourself, but I mean, I don't know. I'm not under any delusions that anyone in China or the US cares about what I think.


Jeremy Au: (31:11)

This feels like less action than, remember last time we were like, what can we do with a global climate crisis and we're like, there are so many things we can individually do. I don't know, turn off the shower, turn off the lights, buy carbon credits and then now it's just like, this one is like I don't know. I think we can prepare. I don't know. If I was a founder, what would I do? Raise money, just have more cash, and have a conservative scenario? Maybe identify dependency on the supply chain or stuff like that. That's really important. As you said, prepare efficiency measures. Maybe you don't have to do it right now, but just have a list of that. Oh, and another thing I was thinking is don't fly to Taiwan for a holiday. That might be a business continuity risk, especially when we fly with the air defense zone line. I was just talking to a guy who's based out of Taiwan and asking him about the mood and he's like, well, the Taiwanese seem pretty unconcerned, but they've lived under this threat for many years.


Shiyan Koh: (32:26)

So he's like, I'm not really sure whether that's a good thing or a bad thing. Are you kind of complacent because you've lived through enough or you're like not freaking out because you've lived through enough?


Jeremy Au: (32:39)

Maybe that's part of the measures, which is that maybe peace will happen. So, you have to keep your anxiety boxed away with a 23.8% chance, and then, there's a 76.2. Sorry, I was just looking for that mental math there, right?


Shiyan Koh: (32:59)

It's too early for that. It's too early. No, I mean, I think it just, it's really, I think people want to think about what would you do differently? So on your personal balance sheet, maybe it's like you want to be more conservative, you want to have some cash, like you're a startup founder, you have 15 other things to deal with and worrying about this thing that you can't control. I don't know how productive it is.


Jeremy Au: (33:23)

If you are like a Chinese national, I think I've actually heard a few of them outweighing how to localize their immigration status across the various South Asian countries because they think of this risk and so they want to have the optionality to still be able to travel in that scenario, or to still be able to do business. I think that's something I've heard.


Shiyan Koh: (33:45)

Yeah, but it is interesting to think about the waves of Chinese immigration, right? So I'm in, right now, I'm in Thailand. There's a huge, Thai Chinese community and at various points, the ties were welcoming or not welcoming.


Jeremy Au: (33:59)

Like every normal country in the world, right? I mean, I don't think a country is built to like, accept, huge immigration flows every single year, right?


Shiyan Koh: (34:07)

But the Thai Chinese who are here have like, localized, right? They've been here for generations. Yeah and often business people as well. So not, not the first and won't be the last, as you say.


Jeremy Au: (34:25)

On that note, I think it won't be the first and it won't be the last. And I think, hey, we're still around after so much conflict and wars, right, in the world. So I think there's still hope.


Shiyan Koh: (34:37)

Yeah, humans haven't quite managed to obliterate everyone yet. Great. What an uplifting message, Jeremy.


Jeremy Au: (34:44)

The better angels of our nature, right? He claims that we're trend trending to a small peace and less war, right? So, okay. On that note, peace out.