In this scenario, China rises to the climate leader. The trade war accelerates and the world is divided into two digital blocks and a trading area.
In its Belt & Road project, China is increasing its leverage and increasing investment internationally. China has a strong role in drawing up the rules of the game, as the focus of international trade is in Asia.
China is using climate policy to increase its own interests and influence internationally. Renewable energies and energy storage are invested heavily.
China is spreading control over capitalism as well as a rigorous "Social & Climate Credit" system, in which the social lending system is adding emission-related factors. The credit system decides who and when to buy flights, car, petrol or meat. Personal carbon budgets will be introduced gradually.
In this scenario, the European economy is declining, the union's lines are further racking and the EU's global negotiating position is deteriorating. The increasing cyber-attacks and information-engagement accelerating blocking. China and Russia are behind the European digital eastern border. The internets also differentiate and recall the time when we only had one internet.
The opportunities of a small country to influence the terms of trade decrease under pressure from global superpowers and there is increased pressure to choose a side.
Finland has the ability and opportunities to operate between two superpowers and to engage in trade with both sides. Nevertheless, a constant risk of new sanctions looms in the business environment, and operating conditions are extremely insecure.
Companies whose products enjoy high demand in the Asian markets are most likely to succeed. Demand focuses especially on innovations related to renewable energy and the bioeconomy.
Finland is also seeing a rise in nationalism, and attitudes towards the EU and international cooperation have become more negative. The political climate in Finland is tense. The nation is divided on Finland's role and position: can we navigate between two world orders or should we place greater emphasis on European values (such as human rights and freedom of speech) and refrain from cooperating with parties that violate these?
The EU's internal market stagnates, and Finnish exports are increasingly focused on Asia. China imposes strict climate sanctions on its trade partners. The social and climate credit system harnessed to promote climate monitoring, in which the individual is the biggest payer, spreads not only in China, but also to other trade areas. As a result, Finnish companies are also required to allocate emissions per time of use per product.
China's different copyright system and higher demands concerning the transfer of foreign technology and data pose challenges to Finnish companies operating in China and companies that source products from the Chinese market.
The strategic significance of waterways and arable land to the superpowers is emphasized and the prices of the related raw materials increase. This ultimately helps balance the Finnish economy.
Traditional labor market organizations maintain their position on the labor market. The main counterforces are a stream of workers coming from China and Asia and the growth of the grey economy.
The status and activities of interest groups are influenced by the export markets in different sectors. Pressure to internationalize lobbying, for example in the energy sector, increases.
Plenty of capital and risk financing is available in the Asian markets. In the West, interest rates and share prices trail those in the East, pushing European money to seek diverse investments. In the context of the Silk Road initiative, Finland has invested in infrastructure and 5G/6G projects.
Finland invests in cybersecurity competence, which is seeing increasing demand around the world.
China has an effective leadership position with respect to tightening emission limits and investments. China is a significant owner of raw materials in Africa, for example.
The circular economy and raw material flows and the boundaries between blocs guide production location decisions. Location is polarized either near raw materials and circular economy hubs or customers and logistics hubs. China guides the implementation of the circular economy in a centralized manner. Implementation elsewhere is slower and more regulation-driven.
The symbiosis between megacities and industrial circular economy hubs leads to scalable and duplicable giant investments. Small companies fall by the wayside.
Forests and waterways emerge as the focus of strategic geopolitics. The blocs need to ensure access to critical natural resources in the future.
China and the USA move in different directions when it comes to climate policy. China emerges as a superpower of cleantech, renewable energy and smart energy networks, while the USA falls behind in technological development, eases climate regulations and extends its support for fossil energy.
The climate policy of a weak EU loses its effectiveness and there are growing regional differences in the forms of energy production.
The energy decisions of EU countries are linked to the bloc that each country identifies with. Some EU countries reach towards the USA and harmonize their climate regulations and energy systems with the USA to maintain trade relations. Some Eastern European countries enter into an energy partnership with China, receive generous subsidies, adopt Chinese technology and join China's supergrid.
The intelligence of energy networks increases and espionage and cyber sabotage related to energy networks increases between the blocs.
Europe falls behind in development in the field of health and wellness technology. The stagnant European economy does not have sufficient capital for pharmaceutical development, and companies move to Asia.
China's social credit system awards people points for health-related activities. China is able to collect detailed health data on its citizens and influence their behavior. China has an advantage in the use of AI and data and the country takes major leaps in the field of health technology.
Many countries adopt a personal health and wellness budget that takes into account nutrition, exercise and other lifestyle factors affecting health. Citizens receive tax breaks for the desired behavior and, when people get sick, the price of treatment is lower for those who have verifiably followed a healthy lifestyle. Insurance companies collect increasingly accurate health data on their customers and price their services accordingly. Inequality increases.
Products and services are increasingly designed to suit Asian preferences, as that region has the largest potential customer base.
China and Asian countries maintain their position as leading travel destinations. China uses political measures to control the destination choices of travelers, creating increased pressure on the destination countries to please China and not take action to address human rights issues, for example. China also strengthens its own business activities in travel destinations. With regard to foreign travelers visiting China, China takes advantage of its visa practices to collect data.
Travel becomes a possibility only for a small group of privileged people. Surveillance technology is used to regulate travel and consumption, especially in Asia.
Intellectual property rights are ineffective across blocs, forcing companies to choose their markets and ecosystems based on the blocs. Internal standards emerge within blocs.
China and Russia engage in digital cooperation and have open interfaces between them. Russia adopts Chinese technology. Security threats intensify due to the stronger connection between the countries and the roll-out of 5G technology. Russia and China also cooperate in the area of cyber attacks and information warfare.
China launches a renminbi-based cryptocurrency, which is adopted not only in China but also in many African countries. With its mobile payment practices, Africa is fertile ground for growth.
Chinese surveillance technology spreads in African countries, and some Eastern European countries also adopt it.
China's success creates pressure to deregulate technological development and the use of data in the West.