Formal Name: Hanaui Chaebol
Also Known As: The Chaebol, Southeast Asia, SEA, Indochina
Major Corporations of Note:
Jade Hall Genetech – Genetics engineering
Daesun Citimatics – Construction and infrastructure maintenance
Hanjin – Shipping and transportation
RK Group – Private security and naval defense
Geographic Regions: The Korean peninsula, the Southeast Asia region including Indochina. The Chaebol is also, along with Vostoka and the Subcontinental Commission, one of the parties responsible for controlling access to the Zone and ostensibly has authority there, but rarely enforces it beyond making sure as little comes out of the Zone as possible.
Chief Executive Officer: Kang Sung, CEO of Jade Hall Genetech
Capital City: Seoul, Korea
C-Day affected more than just mainland China. The literal fallout from the nuclear bombing inevitably washed into the East and South China Seas. Wind carried irradiated dust down into the Korean peninsula and Indochina, and clouds that began in China rained down contaminated water over neighboring areas. Southeast Asia and Korea also saw a massive explosion of population, as Chinese refugees (most of whom were being turned away from or refused to go to other countries) were flooding their borders.
The first few years were hard, but things stabilized after Korean scientists from the newly forming Hanaui Chaebol made incredible strides in genetic engineering. While the rest of the world was caught up in a cybernetic revolution, the Chaebol looked to biology and genetics for salvation. Genetic engineering allowed people to adapt to radiation, to survive on less food, to live healthier lives in increasingly harsher environments as the post-nuclear storms raged.
After the Chaebol enacted measures to stem the fallout coming out of China (and the dust of the Zone settled in general) the region bounced back, now having advanced genetics far beyond what the rest of the world had done.
Nowadays, SEA is alive with trade and a vibrant population that pushes the boundaries of the human genome. It is not without challenges, not the least of which is secessionist island cultures as well as piracy stemming from nearby Sparteca. But the RKG does its best to keep the peace and maintain order.
To those foreign to the region, going to the Chaebol can be like visiting an alien world. Whereas cybernetics are commonplace and culturally normal in the rest of the world, in the Chaebol they’re relatively rare beyond a basic neuro-link to the Mesh like most people have.
What is the norm in the Chaebol, however, are gene mods. Genetic augmentation takes the place of cybernetics in the SEA, and is done for more or less the same reasons (health, protection, work, fashion, etc.)
What is even more unsettling to foreigners are the so-called parahumans; uplifted animals and hybrid chimeras created whole cloth by genetic engineering. Such entities would be illegal to create anywhere else in the world, but in the Chaebol such laws are a little more relaxed, equivalent to the (albeit very strict) laws governing the creation of AI elsewhere.
Parahumans are generally treated as respected servants or beloved children by their creators, and only rarely as advanced pets or outright slaves (given that slavery in and of itself is illegal). The circumstances of their creation makes it mostly impossible for them to reproduce on their own, so currently there is no large community of parahumans equivalent to the AI community of Tylos in the Khaleeji.
China itself may have been destroyed, but hundreds of millions survived its destruction and fled the country in every conceivable direction. Many were reluctant to flee to Vostoka or the Subcontinent, given that those regions were in part responsible for China’s destruction in the first place and the powers in charge at the time were not incredibly receptive to an influx of Chinese refugees (India itself was already a massively populated country).
Most refugees, as a result, fled to Southeast Asia and from there, abroad. Some stayed, some settled across the world, but for the most part wherever Chinese refugees settled, they stayed largely within their own communities. This was by necessity in most places, since that was the only way for them to survive and for those areas to accommodate them.
But over time, even when the opportunity arose for the refugees to integrate with the larger societies they now lived inside, most felt an intense pressure to stay together and do as much as they could to preserve their Chinese heritage and keep their cultural identity alive. Most felt that their homeland was taken from them, that their identities had been attempted to be erased from history, and they clung to whatever they had.
As a result, Chinatowns are everywhere in the world now. Almost every major city has one (or several, if it’s especially large), and it is essentially a nation apart from the rest of the city. Their insular, separatist nature is largely tolerated by the cities they inhabit because they’ve simply become cultural norms in and of themselves. They are often places where a lot of latitude to the normal rules are given, which has unfortunately led to them also being havens for crime.
Nonetheless, they’re simply too politically delicate an issue to address for most syndicrats that they’re generally allowed to exist and so long as what happens in Chinatown stays there, not much is made of it.