Beijing (dpa) – China is deploying its economic clout overseas with ever more ambition with a series of long-term investment projects.
New Silk Road Economic Belt:
This development project aims to improve the infrastructure linking China to Europe through Central Asia, inspired by the ancient Silk Road trading route.
The 40-billion-dollar Silk Road Fund is intended to “enhance regional connectivity and embrace a brighter future together,” according to state-run media.
Other countries are welcome to contribute to the fund, Beijing said last year.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in March said that the project was “the product of inclusive cooperation, not a tool of geopolitics.”
21st Century Maritime Silk Road:
This parallel scheme, which will draw on the same pot of money, focusses on South and South-East Asian counties as well as building connections with some African and European countries.
As part of the overall project, China has already built joint economic zones and ports in partnership with countries including Vietnam, Laos, Kazakhstan, Myanmar, Cambodia, Greece and Sri Lanka.
Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank:
The AIIB, due to be established later this year, will fund rail, road, power and other projects in underdeveloped parts of Asia.
The bank is set to start with initial capital of some 100 billion dollars, about half of which is expected to come from China. Over 20 Asian countries signed an initial agreement to establish the bank.
It is seen by some as a potential rival to the US-dominated International Monetary Fund and World Bank, and the Japanese-dominated Asian Development Bank.
China-Pakistan Economic Corridor:
Also part of the broader Silk Road project, the corridor is a 46-billion-dollar infrastructure investment to build a 3,000-kilometre corridor of roads and railways through Pakistan.
A large hydropower project was the first recipient of funds, as announced in April during Xi’s visit to Pakistan.
Xi in September announced an investment of 20 billion dollars in India’s infrastructure and manufacturing sectors over the next five years.
Under the plans, China will help modernize India’s railway system with high-speed links and set up two industrial parks in the western states of Gujarat and Maharashtra.
Between 2000 and 2014, the Chinese have invested a total of 411 million dollars in India, according to government data.
Many state-owned firms in China, often energy, mining or construction firms such as China National Offshore Oil Corporation and Aluminium Corporation of China Limited, have made multi-billion dollar investments in countries including Canada, Australia, Kazakhstan as well as in Central and South America and Africa.