As the world continues to head towards globalization, it becomes imperative to form alliances and partners that represent your interests on the international stage. The Chinese industrial behemoth of a conglomerate has established dominance as the major player in manufacturing given the unique advantage it has as the world’s most populated country as well as having cheap labor. This advantage allows it to strike deals with major companies around the globe to set up their manufacturing plants in China. This is why even iconic American brands like Apple are manufactured and assembled in China.
But this global dominance and hunger has started to wane as China led by the Xi Jinping and the Communist Party starts to saturate the Western market. To continue with the same level of growth China needs to come up with a new strategy. This is where the One Belt One Road initiative comes into play. The OBOR is China’s answer to sustained levels of growth along with the exclusive chance to export both culture and ideas to a truly global audience. It has identified the next big market as South Asia and Africa. The OBOR is an attempt to connect China to the rest of the globe in a previously unseen manner. It is hence reminiscent of the trade routes of old that brought Chinese silk to European and Arab markets and made it popular. Perhaps this is why the OBOR is also known as the New Silk Road.
The most praiseworthy part of this initiative is the scale at which it is taking place. To date, China has signed cooperation agreements with 126 countries across Asia, Africa, and Europe. It has also signed similar agreements with 29 international organizations. The main focus of the OBOR is an unprecedented investment by China in infrastructure around the globe. This includes projects like the China-Britain route which connects Yiwu to London. China has also made investments in infrastructure to connect 48 Chinese cities with 42 European destinations. Apart from Europe, the OBOR has conducted a variety of projects in Africa ranging from building railway infrastructure and ports to providing agriculture technology and support. Chinese companies are a 470 km long railway project in Kenya to cut travel time from 12 hours to 4.5 hours. It is Kenya’s biggest infrastructure project to date. China has also invested in Nigeria, Sudan, and Ethiopia.
China’s immense initiative is commendable in providing support to less developed countries. It has invested a lot of money into a lot of different regions with the goal of expanding into international markets. This has led to developing into different sectors in companies. It is also important to see this investment, not just in terms of capital, but also as an opportunity to exchange culture and build a rapport with these countries. This helps in bringing in investment and capital in exchange when the economies become developed enough to exceed the supply requirements of their local industries.