While the belt and road initiative brings changes directly into countries along the route, it also brings people out of the region to search for more business opportunities. North China’s Shaanxi province has started to see an influx of foreign businessmen from Central Asia, Russia and Thailand.
These beautiful and exotic handicrafts, porcelains, carpets, and camel's hair cushions, are all Kazakhstan-made products. They were rarely seen in China before the launch of the Belt and Road Initiative.
Business opportunities are on the rise, and you can now find all kinds of products in China from countries along proposed routes. This small shopping mall has exhibition halls showcasing the most popular items. Anita and her husband are the owners of products in the Kazakhstan hall. She says Chinese goods in Central Asia are in very high demand.
Anita, Kazakh business owner said: “The people in Kazakhstan are very fond of Chinese products. They let me help purchase all kinds of things when I studied abroad.”
In May this year, Anita and her husband invited a local trade group to visit Kazakhstan. They now mainly deal with business exchanges between China and Kazakhstan.
“In Kazakhstan, we are doing business in a mall called ‘Chinese city’. In China we showcase at the China South City, and our products here at the Kazakhstan exhibition hall. Through this exchange, more products are sold in Kazakhstan. We have also built an e-commerce website and conduct B2B in Kazakhstan, and B2C in China, in order to attract more investments to Kazakhstan,” said Yuan Chaohui, executive director of Xi’an Silk Road Electronic Business
But their business is not just limited to Central Asia. Thailand, one of the world’s biggest tourism destinations, has long been famous for tourism products. It’s also a very important part of the One Belt and One Road initiative. Anita and her husband want to purchase some soap samples made with essential oils. They said these can be sold for a lot of money in Central Asia. As owner of a stall in Thailand exhibition hall, the young man has already got ideas about expanding his business along the route of the Belt and Road Initiative.
Xu Hongcheng, stall owner of Thailand Exhibition Hall said: “We are ready to introduce Indian yoga products and Russian Vodka to our store in Thailand, as well as Kampuchea’s handicrafts.”
Russian handicrafts sell well in China because of their elegant shapes and design. They’re also attractive due to the long history of people-to-people exchanges, that made Chinese people fond of their products.
Bach, stall owner of Russian Exhibition Hall said: “I will take the painting brush, Chinese tea, Chinese porcelain back to Russia to sell.”
For all business owners, opportunities are on the rise. Experts say China’s annual trade with countries along the route could reach $2.5 trillion in 10 years. Barclays Research says that these countries collectively accounted for 22 percent of Chinese exports last year, and supplied 37 percent of China’s commodity imports.
Chinese economists say that the Belt and Road Initiative will be a significant turning point for the Chinese economy. It can help promote infrastructure and industrial transfer among different localities and provide more opportunities for entrepreneurs.