As China holds an international forum on the Belt and Road Initiative in Beijing next month, China Daily talks with business leaders over their views and their participation in the developments.
Terrence Curtin, CEO of TE Connectivity
We understand the Belt and Road Initiative’s significance in promoting economic growth and regional cooperation, and we appreciate the tremendous efforts China has put into this gigantic project.
We regard the many infrastructure projects proposed under the framework of this initiative as enhancing connectivity across Asia, Europe and Africa. This presents a large opportunity for TE, as we are well positioned to offer our unparalleled connectivity and sensing technologies and products in the energy infrastructure, ICT (information and communication technologies) infrastructure, railway links and many other sectors.
We are also encouraged by the China’s welcome attitude to foreign participation into this project. As the Belt and Road forum will gather many world leaders to discuss the road map forward in Beijing, I believe companies like TE will have more opportunities to participate in the initiative and contribute to its success.
Shen Difan, general manager of AliExpress
The Belt and Road Initiative is conducive to lower trade barrier, address trade imbalances and enhance economic interdependence. While globalization benefits large multinational corporations, the Belt and Road Initiative aims to unlock the potential of SMEs by enhancing connectivity, and e-commerce is a critical channel to reach that goal.
AliExpress aims to serve 1 billion users globally within seven years and build a “cyber Silk Road” following the initiative. This will be achieved via collaboration on cross-border payment, express delivery and local partnership.
Ondrej Frydrych, CEO of Home Credit China
The Belt and Road Initiative has built a broad international platform for both China and economies on the routes and also generated strong momentum of economic growth in the countries, which not only further enhances the opening up of China but also provides tremendous opportunities for Chinese companies, especially those in service and manufacturing sectors, to “go global”.
As a long-term player in Chinese market, Home Credit not only devotes itself to the development of local consumer finance industry, but also supports to promote the Belt and Road Initiative implementation and the globalization of our Chinese partners. We provide them with consumer finance solution which covers the entire process of loans, consumption, payment and credit system construction, so as to help them exploit Southeast Asia and other emerging markets rapidly. The collaboration is showing good results, and the initiative has brought even more opportunities in those markets and offered a platform where we could better integrate mutual resources.
Jan Rinnert, chairman of Heraeus
The Belt and Road Initiative is an encouraging and visionary initiative. Today’s it’s more focused on physical infrastructure investment, with substantial financial systems in place such as the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank as the cornerstone. In the future it will lead to cultural and people-to-people exchanges.
The initiative would require extra efforts and coordination among public-private partnership, something that Europe can share some experiences with China.
The initiative will lend new momentum for the company’s growth. Actually Heraeus has already been doing business in countries along the route. In the future, we look forward to the digital and data infrastructure building under the Initiative where there is a larger role for us to play.
Jose Vinals, chairman of Standard Chartered Plc
The Belt and Road Initiative is the most important single initiative that exists and it is fostering cross-border integration in terms of infrastructure, cross-border investment and international trade. China is championing the initiative, which is very fundamental.
We are very strategically supporting this initiative, because we think it’s very important for all the countries we serve in Asia, Middle East and Africa. The initiative, by enhancing infrastructure that allows the countries to be connected, therefore promoting investment and trade, is a major factor to support growth, development and the prosperity of those countries.
Standard Chartered last year participated in 40 deals related with the initiative. For example, we have supported Chinese governments to develop water power plants in Pakistan and Bangladesh.
Leif Johansson, chairman of the board of Ericsson
The Belt and Road Initiative is a very good articulation of something that can be good for many countries.
It is built on an old thought of connecting the world trade, but of course it will be built in reality with new technology, all the way from airports, logistics and infrastructure on communication that Ericsson can help.
Song Hailiang, chairman of Shanghai Zhenhua Heavy Industry Co Ltd (ZPMC)
The Belt and Road Initiative is a grand international theater in which actors, directors, and scriptwriters must include people from various nations. The initiative starts with physical connection of high-speed roads, railway, airports and ports. With that in place, it would evolve into a broader platform to strengthen trade and cultural ties.
The platform would push the once loose, isolated and bilateral agreements into deepened multilateral cooperation. It will unleash huge value as times passes by.
ZPMC is a pioneer and a steady enforcer of the initiative. More than 50 countries along the route have ZPMC equipment installed, and I expect the number to grow as the initiative brings synergies and radiates to more nations.
The company is eyeing to expand to Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, and other countries in West Asia.
Jean-Pascal Tricoire, chairman and CEO of Schneider Electric SA
It is a very responsible thing for China to support the countries along the route of the Belt and Road Initiative to get better infrastructure. With the fast development of China in the past few years, it has accumulated rich experience and had real competency in building infrastructure, meanwhile, many countries are in need of that kind of infrastructure.
Therefore, this initiative is a great plan, probably one of the biggest plans within this century. We see a lot of potential in working together with Chinese enterprises as we have strong presence in the countries along the route of the initiative, we could support the plan.
Schneider Electric could provide complete solutions through its product, technology and service to create value for concrete, steel and water treatment sectors. When Chinese companies go abroad and look for partners, we could help them to be their assistant as we have already been there, owning engineers and service teams there, which could help these enterprises reach local standard, grow faster there as well as help them export.
Gao Yan, CEO of thyssenkrupp Greater China
The Belt and Road Initiative helps coordinating development policies, forging connected infrastructure construction and also strengthening trade relations in the regions involved.
As the CEO of thyssenkrupp Greater China, I see great opportunities for us to participate in and contribute to this initiative by leveraging our outstanding engineering expertise and rich experiences.
I am looking forward very much to the good cooperation with Chinese partners along with this initiative to bring mutual benefits.
Girish Ramachandran, Asia Pacific president of Tata Consultancy Services
The Belt and Road Initiative is a great opportunity for global trade, and to build connectivity for China around the world by enabling a more efficient supply chain. The whole initiative for reviving the Silk Road is technology-driven, and it will in turn help China bring some of its world-class technologies to economies along the route. The Belt and Road Initiative will also drive Chinese brands to gain international fame, which is set to pave the way for China’s next phase of growth.
TCS is a strong believer and supporter of globalization, and the Belt and Road Initiative certainly serves that purpose. We generate 95 percent of total revenue from outside India, and the initiative will continue to fuel business momentum for us. While certain countries are looking inward, I hope it’s a passing cloud and more people will see opportunities in the initiative.
Chen Qihua, vice-president of Caterpillar Inc and chairman of Caterpillar China
The core of the Belt and Road Initiative lies in bringing interconnectivity to the ancient trade routes through infrastructure construction. That’s exactly what Caterpillar is delivering on all fronts.
As part of Caterpillar’s long-term commitment, we will continue to facilitate Chinese indigenous partners on projects along the Belt and Road economies.
We are planning to organize a group of Chinese large contractors to go on an inspection tour in Africa and the Middle East in April, where Caterpillar owns mature dealership network and rich resources.
The initiative will benefit our efforts to promote interactions between Chinese contractors seeking overseas opportunities and service providers in host countries
Gregory Hayes, chairman and CEO of United Technologies Corp
We have already started it with bringing the technology center for high-rise construction here to Shanghai to develop the markets along the Belt and Road Initiative. We also use China as a base to export across Asia and even back to the US on the escalators. It remains an opportunity for us to continue to expand manufacturing for export.
Our strategy is to continue providing innovative, cost-competitive and sustainable technologies for the aerospace and building industries for all the markets along these two trading routes. Also focus on creating new value for our customers through investment in new technologies and digital initiatives.
Alexei Chekunkov, CEO of Far East Development Fund
The Belt and Road Initiative is the most important international agenda launched by China. It is a policy of Beijing taking the leadership to save globalization, for the sake of China as well as for the world. While some people relate the Belt and Road to certain geographical lines or corridors, this is not true. The initiative is absolutely international and multidimensional, bringing many nations not necessarily along the route to the table.
The Belt and Road Initiative would serve as a guidance and unlock the full potential of Chinese companies to reach out to economically viable international projects and they are mutually beneficial.
Under the roof of the initiative, potential for Chinese investment into Russia’s Far East region is at least 10 times bigger than it is now. This year, the fund is expected to partner with China’s State-owned enterprises in creating two joint investment funds on gold and copper mining, as well as infrastructure and real estate projects.
Alain Crozier, Microsoft corporate vice-president, chairman and CEO of Greater China region
The Belt and Road Initiative has the potential to drive digital transformation because it empowers organizations to move quickly and scale around the world. This transformation will expand cooperation and connectivity among countries to boost China’s economy, enhance national competitiveness and security.
At the same time, the initiative aims to establish a more open economic environment for foreign companies. We see all of this as an opportunity for the IT industry to be a key enabler of productivity, efficiency, innovation and prosperity across the broadest set of industries and services.
Liu Jie, vice-president of Carestream Health Inc and president of Carestream’s Greater China Cluster
The Belt and Road Initiative is a medium－and long-term strategy that will further increase China’s global influence. Hopefully, during the next few years, this strategy will produce great policy dividends, including investment opportunities in infrastructure construction, services and multiple industry chains.
Homegrown and multinational corporations need to expand overseas and conduct exchanges and cooperation to better complement each other’s advantages. We expect multinationals－which hold inherent advantages in technology, standards and services－to actively take part in the initiative and drive economic development.