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April 26, 2019

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BRI fuels outbound foreign investment

More than 60 percent of Chinese corporations indicated that they plan to increase overseas investment by more than 10 percent in the next two years, and that the Belt and Road Initiative is key to that enthusiasm, according to a new survey by global law firm Baker McKenzie.

Despite a complicated global trade outlook and tougher rules, 63 percent of corporations based in China are keen to invest further, said the report, “The Age of Hypercomplexity," based on a survey of 600 C-suite and director-level executives in Australia, China, India, Japan, Malaysia and Singapore.

The survey found 81 percent of respondents expected the influence of China to increase most in the next five years. In last year’s survey, only 21 percent thought the same. Most respondents then thought India would see the greatest increase in influence.

More than 80 percent of 200 respondents on the Chinese mainland and in Hong Kong see projects related to the Belt and Road Initiative as either fundamentally or hugely important to their business. That is partly a result of Chinese investment abroad having multiplied rapidly in the past five years, driven in part by the BRI.

“Chinese companies are still very active in making BRI investments,” said Baker McKenzie M&A partner Bee Chun Boo. She said Southeast Asia remained a key region for BRI investment, with infrastructure leading the way, followed by manufacturing, financial services and e-commerce.

Ai Ai Wong, Asia Pacific chair of Baker McKenzie, said that macro policies, such as the BRI, the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership and other cooperation between governments and corporations, meant investors see more potential benefit in dealing with consortia of nations with shared interests.


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