China eyes $21 billion fund for New Silk Road
CHINA is planning a US$16.3 billion (S$21 billion) fund to finance construction of infrastructure linking its markets to three continents, as President Xi Jinping pushes forward with his plans to revive the centuries-old Silk Road trading route.
The fund, overseen by Chinese policy banks, will be used to build and expand railways, roads and pipelines in Chinese provinces that are part of the strategy to facilitate trade over land and shipping routes, according to government officials who participated in drafting the plan.
More policies will be rolled out soon to encourage Chinese lenders to finance infrastructure in countries along the route connecting China to Europe, said the officials.
They asked not to be identified as they were not authorised to speak publicly about the plans.
Chinese companies will also be urged to invest in the countries and bid for contracts, the officials said.
The New Silk Road plan, comprising a land-based belt and a maritime route, has been referred to as a Chinese national strategy after Mr Xi first proposed the idea in Kazakhstan a year ago.
It envisions an economic cooperation bloc through to the Mediterranean that revives the old Silk Road, where trade helped developed civilisations along the route.
"Previously, China focused on attracting foreign investment, but now the shift is being made - more and more China is encouraging its capital to go abroad," said Feng Yujun, senior researcher at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations in Beijing.