As demand for network bandwidth grows among Belt and Road (B&R) countries, China will exert its technological dominance and set global standards through centrally-coordinated fiber-optic roll-outs, the establishment of data centers, and the deployment of communications, positioning, and observation satellites. Since the original “Silk Road Economic Belt” and “Maritime Silk Road” initiatives, the Chinese government has launched programs specific to the technology, media, and telecommunications (TMT) sector, including the “Information Silk Road” and the “Spatial Information Corridor” to further its ambitions for tech superiority and informational control.
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Most countries along the BRI have urgent infrastructure development needs and many are considered too high-risk for traditional investors, the result being that their governments have been highly receptive to Beijing’s offers of financing, building, and operating infrastructure projects.
The World Bank’s annual Private Participation in Infrastructure (PPI) report tracks private investment in infrastructure projects globally. In 2017, both the total amount of private investment commitments and the number of countries receiving them increased from the previous year. Here are a few key numbers from the 2017 PPI report.
Quotes and Quotas is a digest of phrases and facts that help explain Asia’s infrastructure push.
Asia’s fast growth rates could falter without massive investment in infrastructure, while China — which looks set to benefit from the U.S. withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact — is readying more lending firepower, the Financial Times reports in a special series on Asian infrastructure and trade. As part of the series, FT emerging markets editor James Kynge explains how infrastructure finance could create new alliances across the region and draws upon Reconnecting Asia’s maps. Read his piece here, and explore the infrastructure ambitions of regional powers through Reconnecting Asia’s “Competing Visions” map series here.