BEIJING — Trade and cooperation projects surged between China and countries along the route of Belt and Road Initiative during the first quarter as more foreign companies get involved.
Trade with countries along the new commerce routes amounted to $236 billion in the first quarter of 2015, according to the statistics released by the Ministry of Commerce (MOC) on April 29.
China is engaged in joint construction of 70 cooperative zones through projects such as the construction of industrial parks, with more than $8 billion invested by companies, said Shen Danyang, spokesperson with MOC.
These zones are expected to realize an annual output of at least $20 billion, and provide up to 200,000 jobs, Shen said.
The government has not identified all nations included in the Belt and Road, but so far as many as 60 have voiced support and interest in the initiative, which was designed to better connect China to the region.
During the first quarter, non-financial investment into these countries stood at $2.56 billion, accounting for 10 percent of its total overseas investment.
Chinese firms are expected to step up their overseas ventures such as acquisitions as the Belt and Road Initiative goes ahead, according to a report released by the international consulting firm Ernst & Young.
“Chinese firms now are more aware of transactional and operational risks while they venture overseas, as well as of the importance of professional intermediary services such as law, finance and public relations consulting,” said Sameh El-Shahat, CEO of China-i Ltd, a risk management and public diplomacy advisory firm.
“The growing trend and demand means a huge market for global law firms, accounting agencies and PR companies,” Sameh said.
Gu Chunyuan, senior vice president with ABB Group, a global leading power and automation facility and service provider, believes there is much more room for foreign companies to benefit from the Belt and Road Initiative, especially in infrastructure development.
“Improving infrastructure connection is a top priority in the initiative and it also highlights environmentally friendly design, construction and management. This means opportunities for companies with leading technology, global presence and insight of Chinese market,” Gu said.
Meanwhile, communication and cooperation platforms such as exhibitions and forums also allow foreign enterprises to seek win-win partnership with Chinese counterparts, said Xu Ningning, executive president of the China-ASEAN business council.