European companies wake up to China’s Belt and Road initiative

10 September 2018

China’s Belt and Road initiative will provide relevant opportunities for European companies in the infrastructure, maritime, logistics, banking and financial services, professional services and energy sectors, according to the European Union Small and Medium Enterprises Centre (EU SME Centre).

An article published by the EU SME Centre – “The Belt and Road Initiatives: Opportunities and Challenges for EU SMEs” – states that in the infrastructure sector, in addition to the railways, the focus of investment in the Belt and Road, “will by pipelines, transmission/distribution networks, electricity transmission/distribution networks, production supply chains of units in third countries, water and waste management projects, regional trade and logistics centres and urbanisation projects.

In the advanced production and transport sector, “large-scale infrastructure projects (high-speed rail lines, ports, airports, hydroelectric power plants and high technology industrial parks) that will need top of the line equipment and China will seek it out from suppliers abroad,” the article said.

Opportunities extend to the e-commerce and logistics sector and the countries included in the initiative can take advantage of China’s growing technology skills, financial resources and expertise in e-commerce and logistics to develop its own e-commerce markets.

“With these new transnational corridors, efficient logistics centres will need support, which in turn will need to be supported by appropriate management and infrastructure (warehouses, electricity interconnectors, rail network coordination centres and seaport management),” the article said.

In the financial and professional services sector, it added, “specialisation will be required in complex financial tools,” innovative forms of financing, internationalisation of the yuan, bond markets, commodity trading platforms, insurance services, asset management, accounting, consulting and advisory services as well as maritime services.

In the energy and resources sector, it said, China will seek international support and cooperation in the exploration and supply of oil/gas, coal production/nuclear power, renewable energy projects and carbon trading platforms.

The EU SME Centre expects there may be opportunities in the agriculture and fisheries sectors, where investments in agricultural infrastructure are planned across the Belt, “which may be an opportunity for companies in this industry, also taking into account that the government has a strategy for improving food security.”

In the health and life sciences sector, taking into account the Health Silk Road proposal, there is an expected increase in top-level medical equipment, medical information technology platforms, staff training and planning, construction and medical units.

In the tourism sector, with a greater link and transport infrastructure between the countries covered by the initiative and with the agreement between the World Tourism Cities Federation in Beijing and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation with the aim of promoting tourism in cities along the routes, “new tourist destinations will emerge.”

“Planning is important by identifying the appropriate country, industry, project and partner,” the article concludes. (macauhub)