China’s Belt and Road Initiative

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What is the Belt and Road Initiative?

The Belt and Road initiative was first introduced by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013.The vision is to create and improve the physical (infrastructure), financial (lending, capital-raising) and policy (e.g. customs, trade alliances) conditions that will facilitate greater trade and investment.

It consists of the Silk Road Economic Belt (the ‘Belt’) and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road (the ‘Road’). The ‘Belt’ is a land-based route leading from China through Central Asia to Europe, and the ‘Road’ is sea-based, passing through Southeast Asia, Africa, Middle East and reaching Europe. It connects more than 65 countries with a continually growing geographical reach; the countries involved account for approximately 4.4 billion people, around 63 per cent of the world’s population, and 29 per cent of global GDP1.


New and improved trade routes and infrastructure will make it quicker and easier for businesses to trade globally, with access to new markets and helping to streamline existing supply chains. It is becoming increasingly evident that the benefits are not limited to China alone; it will have a huge impact on the global economy and local businesses on and off the Belt and Road.


By Terence Chiu, Head of Commercial Banking, The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited, Hong Kong, at the HSBC Breakfast Forum: Singapore and China – Tapping into enhanced connectivity, held in Singapore on 28 April 2017.


1 Week in China: Belt and Road, China’s Grand Gambit. Winter 2016

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Connecting the world

As part of a four-article series, HSBC examines how the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is evolving in response to the lessons and challenges experienced so far and what this could mean for the global economy, from climate change to regional economic development and from project governance to trade connectivity. Our second article explores how the BRI is moving from infrastructure projects to a broader focus on increased cross-border and international connectivity.

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  • ** Southeast Asia the most bullish trade bloc globally

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