Market confidence in China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has surged, with 98% of senior executives saying they expect investment to increase in the next year, according to a survey conducted by law firm CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro.
The ‘Above and Beyond: Belt and Road Initiative Investment and Risk Outlook’ report canvassed executives from corporations and investment firms on the opportunities offered along the various trade corridors that comprise the BRI.
The survey says an overwhelming number expect investment in BRI projects to increase and this is a consistent trend around the world.
98% in Southeast Asia, where China and Singapore have struck a number of trade and infrastructure partnerships, expect another boost in funding, and 100% in Africa do so as well.
Furthermore, there is also optimism about the source and composition of BRI investment, with 46% of respondents saying BRI projects will not necessarily require a Chinese partner.
While the BRI was originally launched as an international effort, the vast majority of projects have so far been dominated by Chinese capital and/or a Chinese partner.
They have also largely centered on heavy industry and megaprojects, such as ports and railways. However, half of the respondents say they expect projects to take on a softer form in 2019 and focus data, services and IT.
A skyline of Shanghai
Adrian Wong, a Partner at CMS Singapore, is quoted in the report as saying: “The Belt and Road Initiative will continue to evolve and change over time.
“It’s not one project or even a series of projects, but an idea, and one that encourages creativity and participation from global investors.
“You can look at BRI investment patterns, especially for the Chinese, like a metaphorical journey.
“Coming out from China, the closest regions of Southeast Asia and South Asia will particularly benefit, given geographic proximity and relative cultural similarities.
“These are also the regions heavily in need of infrastructure investment.”