The Belt Road Initiative (Silk Road Economic Initiative)

Overview of the Belt Road Initiative (BRI)

Also known as the “One Belt, One Road Initiative,” and informally known as the “Silk Road Economic Initiative,” it refers to:

  • The Silk Road Economic Belt (One Belt), and
  • The 21st Century Maritime Silk Road (One Road).

The BRI has been viewed as a way for China to productively use its US$3 trillion capital reserves and internationalize the Renminbi. It is a significant development strategy launched by the Chinese government to promote economic co-operation among countries along the proposed Belt and Road routes. The Initiative has been designed to enhance the orderly free-flow economics and the efficient resource allocation. It is also intended to further market integration and create a regional economic co-operation framework of benefit to all. The BRI offers a bridge to NEW OPPORTUNITIES:

  • The Belt and Road initiative is set to reinvigorate the seamless flow of capital, goods and services between Asia and the rest of the world, by promoting further market integration and forging new ties among communities to increase the region’s economic output (GDP).


Opportunities in 5 Key Areas

The Initiative offers global businesses - from multinationals to small- and medium-sized enterprises - unparalleled opportunities to tap into new markets along the Belt and Road and gain deeper access to markets in the Chinese mainland, ASEAN, the Middle East, and Central and Eastern Europe.

For developing and emerging economies in these areas, investment and trade accelerate development for the benefit of all.

Key Development Routes and Corridors

The Belt and Road Initiative aims to connect Asia, Europe and Africa along five routes.

The Silk Road Economic Belt focuses on:

  • Linking China to Europe through Central Asia and Russia;
  • Connecting China with the Middle East through Central Asia; and
  • Bringing together China and Southeast Asia, South Asia and the Indian Ocean.

The 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, focuses on using Chinese coastal ports to:

  • Link China with Europe through the South China Sea and Indian Ocean; and
  • Connect China with the South Pacific Ocean through the South China Sea.

The BRI uses the international transport routes, cities and ports to collaboratively build six international economic co-operation corridors:

  • The New Eurasia Land Bridge,
  • China-Mongolia-Russia,
  • China-Central Asia-West Asia,
  • China-Indochina Peninsula,
  • China-Pakistan, and
  • Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar.

Initial Development: 2013 to 2017

Construction and infrastructure development began in 2013.

  • To date China has spent US$1.3 Trillion in construction and loans to participating countries.

The BRI is connecting Asia, Europe, the Middle East and Africa with vast logistics and transport networks to support cooperative economic development.

  • 65 countries are participating, cooperating with China to develop infrastructure and resources.
  • By the time of it’s estimated completion in 2049, OBOR will stretch from the edge of East Asia all the way to East Africa and Central Europe.

Marketed and promoted as the 21st Century Silk Road.

  • Transportation infrastructure loosely follows the ancient Silk Road trading routes, both inland and maritime routes, but greatly expands routes and development throughout the region.

This vast region region represents:

  • 62% of the World’s population (4.5 billion people)
  • 75% of the World’s energy resources.
  • 80% of global trade by volume and over 70% of global trade by value is conducted by sea.
  • 40% of the World’s current economic output (GDP).

Infrastructure Projects with Chinese Involvement as of March 2017

Representative Numbers

US$1.3 Trillion has been spent by China to date.

  • That’s seven times as costly as the Marshall Plan, on which the U.S. spent US$130 billion to rebuild Europe.

In 2018 China announce it is providing an additional US$2 Trillion in development funds.

  • Total estimate required to complete the initiative by 2049 is US$4 to US$8 Trillion.

65 countries are involved in the Belt Road Initiative. For example:

  • In Pakistan: China is partnering with Pakistan to build US$60 billion of BRI infrastructure.
  • In Thailand: The Chinese partnership with Thailand is expected to yield a 542-mile railroad, carrying high-speed trains that’ll move at up to 150 miles per hour.
  • In Malaysia: One Belt, One Road will spend about US$40 billion on four railroad projects.

Major railroads and highways connect newly built inland port cities that are already transporting goods and resources between China and Europe.

Commercial, entertainment and culture centers have build in these new cities and along the transportation routes, severing 2 billion new consumers with growing disposable incomes.

At least 36 planned or existing ports outside of China are involved.

US$870 Billion in trade between China and BRI partners in 2017, a 15% increase from 2016.

Within a decade, the RBI is expected to generate more than US$2.5 Trillion in trade.

The Digital Silk Road Initiative

During the 4th World Internet Conference in Wuzhen, China during December 2017 the Digital Silk Road Initiative was officially announced.

  • “China aims to build a digital silk road as it identifies innovation as the driving force to pursue the Belt and Road Initiative,” President Xi Jinping said at the conference.
  • “The Belt and Road Initiative is pushing overseas investments to new heights, therefore smart platforms using big data technologies to facilitate trade and investment should be established with foreign partnerships.”

Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Turkey, Thailand, Laos, Serbia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and several other BRI countries agreed to cooperate with China in the digital economy to build an interconnected Digital Silk Road.

  • These countries will expand broadband access, promote a digital transformation, encourage e-commerce cooperation, as well as seek to enhance encourage policy-making to create a transparent digital economy and promote cooperation in international standardization.

The conference marks the first time that leading Western cyber-technology trailblazers - including Apple CEO Tim Cook, Google CEO Sundar Pichai, and Facebook executives - attended the conference.

Source: (TeleGeography)

Developing Digital Silk Road Infrastructure

New industry alliances are being establish to develop effective new digital transaction, financial, payment and accounting systems to support trade logistics and financial transactions.

  • e-Business platform solutions for secure digital transactions, and for protecting IP rights.
  • Integrated business, financial, entertainment and education online products and services.
  • East-West online World Stage for multi-site RBI culture and entertainment events.

The Digital Silk Road Initiative is developing inter-connected smart inland port cities to improve logistic efficiency and resource allocation. It is also developing submarine cable systems and their landing stations throughout the Maritime Silk Road routes.

Source: (TeleGeography)

The Cultural Silk Road Initiative

China’s long-term economic develop plans make culture a strategic priority to promote mutual understanding and and economic opportunity for all countries.

Promoted by China as “Multiple Cultures, One Path of Progress.”

  • The physical and IT infrastructure of the BRI facilitates cross-cultural exchanges.
  • Encourages the meeting of artists and creative industries around the world.
  • Creates opportunities to promote the mixture of cultures, art, and know-how of every country.

All BRI inland and maritime BRI port centers include commercial Cultural Centers providing support for venues, entertainment, education and community services.

  • Uses Digital Silk Road Internet networks, streaming and B2B/B2C sales platform facilities.

Cultural Silk Road Business Development

Promotes multiple creative industry alliances, industry forums and business partnerships. Recently established industry organizations include:

  • The first Forum of “The Cultural Silk Road” was held in Beijing in May 2016. In 2017 the forum was held in Lyon, France.
  • Silk Road International Music Forum series in Chengdu, Ningbo and Pingyao.
  • Silk Road International Music Alliance, established in 2017 by seventeen participating BRI countries. The Alliance is a multi-country, multi-industry initiative to develop and expand the music, film, entertainment and digital media industries in China. It will launch comprehensive cooperative ventures in various fields including the areas of creation, production, performance, copyright protection, education, streaming, sales platforms, digital media sales, etc.

The National China Music Industry Park–Shanghai (CMIP, 国家音乐产业基地-上海)

  • A Chinese government development initiative providing business resources to the music, film, entertainment and creative industries.
  • Complete industry chain for digital media, including music, video, TV, film, education, financial, commercial and retail businesses.
  • Chinese and international companies registered in the Industry qualify for government grants, real estate and tax incentives.

Cultural Events Promoting the Belt Road Initiative

  • Ningbo City: The Maritime Silk Road Music Festival and Music Industry Forum. Ningbo is promoting itself as the start the Maritime Silk Road Route. Future festivals with be coordinated with other sea port cities using Digital Silk Road technologies for multi-site love concert streaming to BRI online audiences.
  • Chengdu City: Silk Road Indie Music Festival and Music Industry Forum. Chengdu is promoting itself as the start the overland Silk Road. The Indie Music Festival invites well-known and popular artists from all BRI countries to perform.
  • Pingyao City: Silk Road International Alliance Music Festival and Digital Media Industry Forum. Pingyao City is promoting itself as the International Silk Road Entertainment and Tourism Destination. Chinese and international artists from BRI countries are featured and participate in a competition. Pingyao, in Shanxi Province, is an UNESCO World Heritage Site and a AAAAA-rated tourist attraction. It is home to China’s rapidly growing film and movie production companies, and supports extensive business, tourism, entertainment and education infrastructure.

Other countries within Belt Road Initiative are also developing entertainment and business events to promote cross-cultural understanding and cooperative ventures.

Silk Road Digital Entertainment Platform

Leyi’s digital media business platform will serve Chinese, BRI and international markets. It is being promoted as the Silk Road “East–West Cultural Bridge.” The platform will serve all participating Silk Road countries. International artist and companies will be able to use the platform to reach this emerging new economic region.

  • Mission – to ensure artists and content owners receive all payments and protect copyrights.
  • Business goal – build large online audiences to for advertizing, marketing, and Big Data analytics.

The platform uses Leyi’s ans Cugate’s transaction tracking technologies:

  • Manages digital rights as it tracks, traces and distributes digital content (music, video, film, TV, e-text, e-learning, etc.).
  • Protects digital copyrights and intellectual property, and enforces anti-piracy laws.
  • Tracks and pays all royalties, providing accurate accounting and reporting.

Increases revenue streams for artists, content owners and all stakeholders.

  • Increases revenue and market reach in mobile and social media networks.
  • Expands Affiliated Marketing capabilities and content management control.
  • Supports Proximity Marketing in local Wi-Fi, USB and other configurations.
  • Provides unique mobile apps motivating consumer loyalty and lock-in.

Overview of the Ancient Silk Road Routes

The Silk Road was an ancient network of trade routes, formally established during the Han Dynasty of China, which linked the regions of the ancient world in commerce and trade. As the Silk Road was not a single thoroughfare from east to west, historians have increasingly favored the term “Silk Routes,” though “Silk Road” is the more common and recognized name.

Both terms for this network of roads were coined by the German geographer and traveler, Ferdinand von Richthofen, in 1877CE, who designated them “Seidenstrasse” (silk road) or “Seidenstrassen” (silk routes). The network was used regularly from 130 BCE, when the Han officially opened trade with the west, to 1453CE, when the Ottoman Empire boycotted trade with the west and closed the routes.