China Infrastructure Spending Heads Down Silk Road
“Behind China’s $1 Trillion Plan to Shake Up the Economic Order,” (New York Times, May 13, 2017) profiles China’s massive infrastructure spending across Asia, Africa, and parts of Europe. China’s government has funded vast infrastructure projects across China extending now beyond its borders into Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam, Indonesia and beyond:
Chinese money is building power plants in Pakistan to address chronic electricity shortages, part of an expected $46 billion worth of investment.
Chinese planners are mapping out train lines from Budapest to Belgrade, Serbia, providing another artery for Chinese goods flowing into Europe through a Chinese-owned port in Greece.
The massive infrastructure projects, along with hundreds of others across Asia, Africa and Europe, form the backbone of China’s ambitious economic and geopolitical agenda… creating new markets for the country’s construction companies and exporting its model of state-led development in a quest to create deep economic connections and strong diplomatic relationships.
Whether these infrastructure investments become profitable and improve trade relationships, or languish unfinished and underused, will be revealed in the coming years and decades. Both governments and private firms can spend tens of billions building infrastructure but in the wrong place, the wrong way, or at the wrong time.