SINGAPORE (Dec 17): 2018 has been a year of disruption, though not just in terms of new technologies replacing traditional methods or innovative start-ups displacing outmoded business models.

At one level, the financial markets have seen a good amount of ups and downs. By the middle of the year, 2018 was shaping up to be the most volatile year for global markets since 2008. Company share prices have fluctuated in the wake of news flow that was not even strictly corporate; geopolitical-risk events have prompted investors to reassess the value of their holdings. On the other hand, corporate events have also turned political: Huawei Technologies’ expansion plans are apparently not sitting well with Western governments, and there seem to have been tit-for-tat arrests between China and Canada.

The arrest of Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou has wider implications. The world’s high-tech industry is inextricably connected in a global supply chain; any disruption at one link would have far-reaching repercussions. This was amply illustrated as the trade war between the US and China ratcheted up over the last six months; US companies were rushing to stock up or find an alternative for a myriad of Chinese products — from engine components to power tools and squid.

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