Announced by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013, the Belt & Road Initiative (BRI) is one of the biggest stories in Asian business. It has since gained global traction and support from more than a hundred countries and international organisations. It promises a new wave of development and business opportunities for regions and countries along the Belt and Road.
Connectivity is core to the BRI. It encourages open trade and international cooperation with economies across Southeast Asia, Central Asia, South Asia, Europe, Latin America and Africa. While 65 countries have been identified by China along the Belt and Road where most projects would land, the BRI is projected to connect about 80 countries, cover about two-thirds of the world’s population, about one-third of global GDP and about a quarter of total global trade in goods and services.
A large part of Wilmar’s global footprint sits along the trading routes of the BRI. Established over decades, our operational and distribution networks are unparalleled. Our manufacturing and marketing presence spans over 50 countries while our products are sold in over 150 countries. Asia is our stronghold especially China, Indonesia and India, while Africa is a growth driver.
Our experience in navigating regional and emerging markets, understanding local business landscapes as well as building local talent capabilities will serve us well in seizing opportunities arising from the BRI.
More than US$900 billion worth of projects are planned or underway (“China’s One Belt and One Road Initiative Brings Risks” Report, Fitch Ratings, Jan 2017), ranging from ports in Pakistan and Sri Lanka, bridges in Bangladesh, to high-speed gas pipelines crossing Central Asia to railways in East Africa.
At the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in May 2017, President Xi pledged to inject an additional US$113 billion for the BRI to continue creating new opportunities for international cooperation.
The BRI is expected to pick up momentum in its formulation and implementation for the foreseeable future.