The third phase of China’s reform and opening-up, marked by the implementation of the Belt and Road Initiative, exhibited quite distinctive characteristics in comparison to the construction of special economic zones in the 1980s and the joining of the World Trade Organization in the 1990s, according to the vice chairman of the China Center for International Economic Exchanges, Wei Jianguo, speaking at the 19th CIFIT.
Wei said that the new stage of reform and opening-up has seen China’s role transformed from being a recipient of foreign investment in capital, technologies and professional personnel to being an investor in foreign countries and regions.
China has been sharing the dividends of its economic growth with much wider regions through the implementation of the Belt and Road Initiative since 2013, and is set to achieve joint development through dialogue and cooperation with 65 countries and 93 port cities along the modern Silk Road.
From Southeast Asia to the Middle East and Africa, the Belt and Road Initiative has influenced 4.4 billion people and the sources of 65 percent of the global GDP. By boosting cooperation in infrastructure construction, trade, finance and other activity across the world, China is expected to fully play its part in achieving the sustainable development goals of the United Nations which are to “end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all” by 2030.
China’s outbound investment to Belt and Road nations had accumulated to $51.1 billion by July 2015, accounting for 12 percent of the total of China’s outbound direct investment, Economic Information Daily reported.
And according to Wei, China’s investment in the Belt and Road nations was used to help improve infrastructure and logistics and to catalyze the process of industrialization, with increased employment as a result.
Wei said that more than 1,200 Chinese companies have generated $20 billion in output value annually and pulled 250,000 people out of unemployment, operating in 77 economic and trade cooperation zones China established in 23 countries.
Xu Lianjie, deputy chairman of Hengan Group, a Hong Kong listed hygiene products supplier in Fujian, said that in answering the call of the central government for raised connectivity worldwide, more Chinese companies started to expand globally and demonstrated a more pragmatic, active side of China and a greater openness to the world.
Xu indicated that 65 percent of Chinese companies making outbound investment in joint-ventures are from the private sector, with an increasing number of Chinese corporate investors making outbound investment. He also commented that it is not a matter of asset purchasing; the aim (of mergers and acquisition) is to pool resources and advantages to realized shared goals.