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Home > Knowledge Centre > The Belt and Road Initiatives: Opportunities and Challenges for EU SMEs

The Belt and Road Initiatives: Opportunities and Challenges for EU SMEs

By EU SME Centre | Guidelines      02.04.2018     Tags: Construction, Transportation

The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), originally launched in 2013 under the name of “The New Silk Road”, is a multi-layered network of projects encompassing over 65 countries roughly positioned along the Old Silk Road land and maritime routes. According to China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), Chinese investment into the BRI from 2013 until mid-2017 totalled EUR 48 billion. 

As China’s BRI investment and joint developments gradually take shape, some key themes have started to emerge in China and certain key countries along the routes, such as:

  • Investment in ports across the maritime routes increasing capacity and interconnectivity

  • New and expanding routes for China’s oil, gas and natural resource import needs

  • International expansion of China’s rail freight business

  • Regional interconnectivity of high-speed rail, highways and telecoms networks

  • Continued investment in China’s aviation sector for route expansion

  • Chinese investment in power generation and renewable energy sectors in third countries

While the BRI’s headline projects may seem out of reach to many SMEs, it is being observed that smaller projects and market opportunities, which are more suited to EU SMEs, are increasingly an element of the BRI as it evolves from its beginnings a few years ago. 

As the BRI’s projects further progress and mature, the key principle for EU SMEs is to plan sufficiently by identifying the appropriate country, sector, project and Chinese partner. 

In this guide prepared by the EU SME Centre and the China-Britain Business Council, you will learn: 

Key Contents 

Economic Corridors

  • The New Eurasian Land Bridge
  • China-Mongolia-Russia Economic Corridor
  • China-Central Asia-West Asia Economic Corridor
  • China-Indochina Economic Corridor (CIPEC)
  • Bangladesh-India-China-Myanmar
  • China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)
  • 21st Century Maritime Silk Road (MSR)

Key BRI Provinces

  • North West
  • South West
  • South and South East

Key Sectors in the Belt and Road Initiatives

About the Authors 

Mick Ryan, Director of Business Environment, the China-Britain Business Council (CBBC)

Mick is chief editor of CBBC’s biggest annual business issues publication, the China Business Handbook. Recently Mick has lead CBBC efforts in online intellectual property (IP) rights and cross-border anti-counterfeiting. Working together with the British Embassy, he leads negotiations with Chinese intermediaries including e-commerce platforms, social media companies and Chinese customs authorities. Mick recently led CBBC’s involvement in a business consultation with Great Britain China Centre (GBCC) to identify major legal obstacles to business in China. Before joining CBBC, Mick was a supply chain project manager at a consultancy in the electric car sector, and is a PMI certified Project Management Professional.

Orestes Georgiou Daniel, Research Analyst, China-Britain Business Council (CBBC)

Orestes joined CBBC in 2016. He conducts macroeconomic research and provides analysis on the Chinese business environment. His more recent work focuses on market access issues for British businesses in China. Orestes also researches the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), and co-wrote and co-edited CBBC’s most recent report on the BRI, titled: “Belt and Road Initiative - Southern Routes: UK-China Cooperation and Opportunities”. He has previously worked in the commercial foreign exchange industry. He holds a BA in Business Management and Chinese from the University of Central Lancashire, as well as an MSc in International Relations from the University of Bristol.


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