Browse our analysis section for news and articles on topics such as China's Belt and Road Initiative (OBOR), the world's evolving digital infrastructure competition, and the stakes for U.S. policy.
Malaysian prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin has proposed a $3.6 billion infrastructure development plan as part of the government's new budget intended to stimulate the economy in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, Nikkei reports.
Thailand and China have signed a $1.6B deal to construct a segment of a high-speed rail, a component of China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), meant to connect Bangkok with northeastern Thailand.
China State Railway Group announced on Thursday its plans to double the length of the nation's high-speed rail network to 70,000 km by 2035 at a cost of 4.55 trillion yuan ($42.6 billion), Nikkei reports.
Malaysia and Singapore have agreed to commence construction of a light-rail connection in early 2021, reviving a project that was delayed by Mahathir Mohamad's former government over cost concerns, Nikkei reports.
The Indonesian government has begun discussions on possible Japanese participation in a planned high-speed railway between Jakarta and Bandung, hoping to spur progress on the delayed Chinese-led project as costs mount, Nikkei reports.
Indonesia plans to extend the tracks of the $6 billion Jakarta-Bandung rail project being built with China to ensure economic viability, but is facing a one year delay due to the coronavirus pandemic, Nikkei reports.
China's Belt and Road infrastructure projects in Indonesia, Thailand, Myanmar, and Cambodia have come to a standstill as countries prioritize fighting COVID-19, Nikkei reports.
Malaysia and Singapore have agreed to postpone the finalization of a long-negotiated rail agreement that has experienced delays since the inauguration of Malaysia's new government in 2018, Nikkei reports.
China is turning to infrastructure projects to boost its economy in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, including the construction a 400 km maglev railway between Shanghai and Ningbo, Nikkei reports.
The shutdown of Wuhan, a strategic transport hub, in response to the coronavirus outbreak could negatively impact China's Belt and Road Initiative, Nikkei reports.
In an effort to reduce traffic congestion, Jakarta recently opened service on the Indonesian capital's first light rail transit line, a key project in Indonesian President Joko Widodo's infrastructure modernization plans, which also include an intercity metro and China-funded high-speed railway between Jakarta and Bandung, Nikkei reports.
The timetable for an $83 billion project to build an ultrafast magnetic-levitation rail line between Tokyo and Nagoya has been delayed due to environmental concerns, Nikkei reports.
A company in Thailand has formed a consortium with China Railway Construction to build a $7.3 billion high-speed railway, Nikkei reports.
Thailand's prime minister, Prayuth Chan-ocha, signed a Memorandum of Cooperation with Laos and China to accelerate the construction of a much delayed high-speed rail line between northeast Thailand and Vientiane in Laos, reports Nikkei.
Malaysia will cancel its $20B East Coast Rail Link project with contractor China Communications Construction Co Ltd due to the high cost, but stated that they will continue to welcome investment from China on a case by case basis.
With an eye toward illuminating current issues, this report draws from examples throughout history of how states use foreign infrastructure to advance strategic objectives. It shows how China is updating and exercising tactics used by Western powers during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and how these issues, and the strategic implications they carry, are likely to intensify in the coming years.
Chinese investment in railways is expected to rise by about 6 percent year-over-year to $125 billion in 2019, part of a stimulus plan to shore up China’s lagging economy. China Railway, which manages the country’s rail-sector, expects to build 6,800km in new rail tracks this year, a 45 percent increase in construction over 2018.
Vietnam's government has re-introduced a previously rejected plan for a high-speed railway that would connect the country's north and south. Under the current proposal, the government would cover 80% of the project's cost, fueling concern that funding the railway would be irresponsible.
Beijing is currently working on construction of a high-speed rail line in northern Thailand. Under its planned 3,000-km pan-Asian railway network, Chinese rail lines will extend even further south, stretching through Malaysia and feeding into Singapore, reports the Nikkei Asian Review.
East Japan Railway unveiled a cutting-edge shinkansen bullet train that is expected to slash the travel time between Tokyo and Sapporo by nearly 40 percent when the route goes into service in 2030.
Thailand will spend more than $25 billion to build a high-speed rail network in a bid to transform the country into a regional rail hub. The Bang Sue Grand Station in Bangkok, when completed in 2020, is expected be Southeast Asia's biggest station with a capacity of serving 400,000 passengers daily.
Indonesia's vice presidential candidate Sandiaga Uno said on Tuesday that the government will review the Chinese-led construction of a high-speed rail line connecting Jakarta and the city of Bandung, if the opposition wins Indonesia's presidential election next year.
China Railway Construction will join a consortium led by Charoen Pokphand Group (CP Group) to bid for the construction of Thailand's $7 billion high-speed railway project that will link three major airports.
Chinese automaker Zhejiang Geely Holding Group signed an agreement with China Aerospace Science and Industry Corp (CASIC) to jointly develop "supersonic" trains in the country with a maximum speed of 620 mph.
The Thai government has approved four infrastructure megaprojects, worth a combined $14 billion, in an effort to rev up new investment in the country's Eastern Economic Corridor.
A recently opened express railway between Hong Kong and mainland China has drastically cut travel times, but has experienced less demand in commuters and tourists as initially anticipated, reports the Nikkei Asian Review.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi aims to launch India's first high-speed railway by August 2022. Faced with challenges in domestic procurement and land acquisition, project leaders are considering a partial opening to coincide with the 75th anniversary of India's independence.
Five years after the announcement of China's Belt and Road, the ambitious drive to build new infrastructure across Eurasia has produced a mixed track record on key issues such as its energy footprint, debt sustainability, and environmental impact.
In preparations to double airport capacity, Thailand plans to build a 220-km high-speed railway connecting three major airports by 2023.
Thai oil and gas group PTT is in discussions with potential partners to develop an estimated $7 billion high-speed train project as part of the country's Eastern Economic Corridor.
Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir claims that Chinese leaders have accepted his government's request to stop three China-backed infrastructure projects due to debt concerns.
Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad is heading to China to renegotiate billion-dollar infrastructure projects signed by his predecessor, in an effort to reduce the nation's financial dependence on China.
The U.S.'s recently announced plan to invest $113 million in infrastructure throughout the Indo-Pacific region will have a limited impact and pales in comparison to China's multi-billion dollar Belt and Road Initiative, according to Dr. James Crabtree of the National University of Singapore.
The EU became wary of China's infrastructure investment in Central and Eastern European countries. Hungary was forced by the EU to conduct a public tender for the Hungarian segment of the Belgrade-Budapest High-Speed Railway, which would delay the project completion until 2023.
California-based Hyperloop Transportation Technologies will help build a 10-km hyperloop in Guizhou Province, which has been targeted for heavy transportation investment due to its strategic location on the land route of China's Belt and Road Initiative.
Thirty-one companies from Thailand and abroad have expressed interest in bidding for the right to build the country's first high-speed railway, valued at $7.07 billion. The 220km route will link three major airports and will be the first large infrastructure project to be built in the Eastern Economic Corridor.
Despite the recent cancellation of the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore high-speed rail line, the Chinese-funded East Coast Rail Link connecting Malaysia's biggest port to the Thailand border will maintain its funding amid government cutbacks, according to Malaysia’s Finance Minister.
Malaysia's decision to cancel the high-speed rail from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore suggests that Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad's new government may reevaluate other costly Chinese-led projects to cut the country's debt, Nikkei reports.
Malaysia has canceled plans for a $14.8 billion high-speed rail project that would have connected Kuala Lumpur with Singapore.
Prime Minister Mahathir cancelled a proposed high-speed railway project that would have connected Kuala Lumpur with Singapore on Monday, citing the overall cost of the project as a primary concern. Mahathir's predecessor signed a legally-binding deal with his counterpart, Lee Hsien Loong, in December 2016 as a symbol of closer bilateral cooperation which will now require negotiating a $125 million penalty for pulling out.
Malaysia’s prime minister Najib has vowed to continue a track record of infrastructure developments, which includes the the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore high-speed rail, ahead of upcoming elections.
Japan's big four contractors are accused of bid-rigging for a planned magnetic levitation train line in an apparent effort to protect earnings amid pressure to cut costs.
A consortium of European companies including the German Engineering company Siemens, France's Alstom, Austria's PORR, and Italian State Railways will team up with a Malaysian engineering company to bid for the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore high-speed rail line. The consortium is expected to face rival bidders from both China and Japan.
The Prime Minister of Thailand has instructed transport officials to reduce the maximum speed of the 670-kilometer Thai-Japanese high-speed rail.
Malaysia and Singapore signed a bilateral agreement to build and run a Rapid Transit System Link on Tuesday, advancing an initiative to boost connectivity between the two Southeast Asian nations.
Chinese led high-speed rail projects across Southeast Asia, a core part of the Belt and Road Initiative, are lagging due to cost issues and trouble procuring land.
Bidding for the high-speed railway project connecting Singapore and Kuala Lumpur kicked off on Wednesday, in what is shaping up to be an intense battle between Chinese and Japanese contractors.
Broad generalizations about “Belt and Road projects,” whether positive or negative, are not particularly helpful and could even be dangerous when formulating policy. A more successful approach is likely to involve nuanced and localized policies in the same way that China has adopted localized approaches to infrastructure investment under the BRI umbrella.
The magnitude of the Balkan Silk Road project poses a mixture of opportunities and policy challenges for countries engaging in or seeking to benefit from its implementation.