Belt and Road Initiative: What’s in it for China?

by Anu Anwar

East-West Wire

Publisher: Honolulu, HI: East-West Center
Publication Date: 1 November 2019
Binding: electronic
Pages: 2
Free Download: PDF


In recent years, questions have been raised about why Beijing provides billions of dollars in loans to debt-strapped nations under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) for infrastructure projects of questionable commercial viability. Yet BRI projects play several important roles within China and on the global stage. Within China, infrastructure projects are designed to integrate the nation's underdeveloped and wealthy regions. They also provide an outlet for Chinese companies’ excess capacity in infrastructure construction, and they contribute to the positive image of Chairman Xi and the Communist Party. Overseas, BRI projects are part of an effort to develop alternative transportation routes for energy and other critical supplies imported by China. They also extend the Chinese government’s political and economic influence and enhance China's image as a global leader. Finally, BRI projects expand the use of the Chinese yuan as a global currency.