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The reality of 2020 represented a wild departure from the tidy predictions made last year. Rather than a turning point, however, the pandemic was more akin to a time warp.   © Illustration by Eric Chow
The Big Story

Asia in 2021: through a screen darkly

Travel bubbles, Zoom calls, Big Tech and vaccines. Is it possible to top 2020?

Nikkei staff writers | East Asia

The reality of 2020 represented a wild departure from the tidy predictions made around this time last year. Rather than a turning point, however, the pandemic was more akin to a time warp. Things that were already happening started happening faster: the rise of China, the decline of the West, the restructuring of world trade, the focus on climate goals, and the supremacy of Big Tech were all hastened by a unique chain reaction unleashed by the virus. COVID-19 "will not so much change the basic direction of world history as accelerate it," according to Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations in New York.

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