“Belt and Road” Phase Two Begins Door to Opportunities Opens for Enterprises
The “One Belt One Road” initiative is in its sixth year. With all concerned actively participating and helping pave the way, it is gradually bearing fruit and is ready to begin its second phase. Quoting President Xi Jinping, speaking at the Opening Ceremony of the 2nd China International Import Expo – the general deployment of the “Belt and Road” is very much completed, that the “frame sketch” is drawn and it is time for the “fine touches” to follow to make “a work of art” – meaning Belt and Road endeavours shall evolve from macro undertakings to embracing details which success hinges on access to substantial amounts of professional services and talent.
In Belt and Road phase two, Hong Kong, as the “Super Connector” in the initiative, sees opportunities everywhere. Given her mature and sound legal system, outstanding professional talent and status as an international financial centre, Hong Kong is going to play an even more important role in the coming phase of the initiative. It will be providing more professional services and in greater depth to assist private enterprises in claiming their spot in the “Belt and Road” market.
"The frame sketch" had high barriers The "fine touches” give chances abundant
In the past six years, infrastructure projects, such as the China-Maldives Friendship Bridge, the Addis Ababa–Djibouti Railway and Gwadar Port<1>, made the bulk of “Belt and Road” construction works. These cross-border projects required massive investment, in other words, had high entry barriers and long investment return cycles, not to mention high risks. Thus, those participating have been mainly state-owned enterprises with deep pockets while private enterprises and capital treaded the ground rather gingerly and few of them actually participated. Fortunately, President Xi announced that it is time that “fine strokes touches” be made to turn “Belt and Road” into “a work of art”, that the market will be open completely and opportunities will be available to all different sectors and investors.
First of all, overall construction of the “Belt and Road” will become more systematic with focus on provision of more comprehensive ancillary facilities. China has committed to creating a better environment for “Belt and Road” construction with “software” interconnection as emphasis, involving active expansion of financing channels, fostering a good investment environment, proper risk adjustment and control and enhancement of security and protection. China will also step up market development, including building more trade promotion platforms to “guide” capable enterprises in pursuing cooperation and investment, and she will also push to standardize the investment and operation modes of enterprises with stress on environmental protection and honouring social responsibility. For interested investors, these new moves have given them a more comprehensive, systematic, secure and focused investment platform, one that can likely boost the confidence of private enterprises in partaking in “Belt and Road” construction.
Furthermore, the scope of “Belt and Road” construction will diversify in the new phase. While infrastructure construction and capacity-related cooperation will remain a major focus, active efforts will be made to develop other sectors, like in development and exchange projects in areas relevant to people’s livelihood including education, technology, culture and tourism. Those endeavours will not only help improve local social and economic well-being, but also see society prosper and in the long run enhance the overall investment value of a place. The authority has also clearly stated that private enterprises will take lead in the future, with the country to play the supporting role, to help give them better opportunities and protection in “Belt and Road” pursuits. At the aforementioned, the scope of the “Belt and Road” initiative has been enlarged to accommodate investment in more diverse development and the “admission fee” has also lowered, thus private enterprises previously barred from the market now have more chances to be involved in “Belt and Road” projects.
Opportunities for Hong Kong
Hong Kong is the freest economy in the world and prides excellent professional capabilities, for giving full play in “fine strokes” phase two. For example, Hong Kong leads the world in many professional service realms including financial, legal, accounting and logistics services. As “software” will be the highlight of “Belt and Road” construction moving forward, not only can Hong Kong provide diverse advisory service to related endeavours, she will also be able to export her rich experiences in tourism, and cultural, education and other technical aspects, as well as her outstanding project handling capabilities to countries along the “Belt and Road”, helping improve construction efficiency. With a proven legal system, respect for and measures to protect intellectual property rights, the city can serve as a bridge between China and the world.
Moreover, with barrier lowered yet the investment scope enlarged in the second phase, Hong Kong enterprises have better chances to venture out of the city and invest in businesses with strong potential in different localities. Doing so, they can help those areas and countries take their businesses international and gain more valuable experiences.
As a company with its roots in Hong Kong, AAI has applied its unique advantages in “Belt and Road” related infrastructure investment and construction, such as in the Novaliches-Balara Aqueduct project in the Philippines and the acquisition of a construction engineering company in Singapore some time back. In the advent of “Belt and Road” phase two, we continue to see enormous opportunities for the construction sector, such as demand for ancillary facilities and support like material supply, engineering consultancy and professional management, born of projects tied to people’s changing livelihood. We have profound experience in those demand areas and also the ability to “Go Out”, thus is confident of seizing those development opportunities to create more projects that can benefit the people as well as boost the investment value of different localities.
<1>Co-construction of a high-quality "Belt and Road"-learning the keynote speech of President Xi Jinping at the opening ceremony of the Second Expo.http://www.ce.cn/xwzx/gnsz/gdxw/201911/10/t20191110_33570392.shtml
By Corporate Communications Department