Embracing the BRI ecosystem in 2018

Navigating pitfalls and seizing opportunities


Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which has been a large part of the investment landscape across a swathe of the world for four years, will become increasingly important. How could enterprises in particular multinational corporations (MNCs) identify opportunities and risks embedded in BRI-related projects and take right actions accordingly? In response to this, thanks to great support from Deloitte Global BRI service and Deloitte China BRI service expert panel, Deloitte Insights and Deloitte Research China jointly release the report entitled Embracing the BRI ecosystem in 2018, aiming to shed light on the following questions:

  • Why has Belt and Road Initiative attracted such attention and generated heated discussion around the globe since its inauguration? Despite different interpretations, what are the goals it strives to achieve?
  • Who are the key winners at Phase 1 and Phase 2 of the BRI roadmap? How will that impact on global investment activities and trade flows? 
  • With a widening range of sectors and participants that BRI concerns, how can MNCs stand a better chance to capitalize on growing opportunities while navigate pitfalls?

This paper, published on the 'Boao Forum Pre-conference Report 2018 - An Open and Innovative Asia for a World of Greater Prosperity', summarizes Deloitte's key BRI insights for 2018, and also explains how industry players can best position themselves to seize the ever-widening range of BRI investment opportunities.


Key Findings

BRI-Much more than infrastructure

BRI is a collaborative ecosystem that to date has focused on energy and infrastructure, but that over the next five years and beyond will evolve to concentrate on trade, manufacturing, the Internet, tourism, and other aspects.

More diversified participants

Although SOEs have undertaken the bulk of BRI projects to date, we expect many more POEs and MNCs will become involved in the near future. At the country level, while most participants are developing countries, it is also true that developed nations are increasingly involved.

Identify risks but keep them in perspectives

Risk control tops the participants' agenda given the long investment horizon and high geopolitical risks associated with countries along the BRI. While we do not downplay the risks, we believe they are less severe than many assume: many BRI-led projects are underpinned by strong bilateral relationships between China and the countries concerned, let alone increasing number of developed countries are getting involved. Moreover, Beijing is giving more weight to return optimization in BRI investment--not in solely financial terms, but building a more equitable ecosystem for trade.

MNCs faces increasingly plentiful opportunities

MNCs' opportunity to get involved in BRI has never been better, because Beijing wants to boost BRI's inclusiveness and needs to show it means that by keeping BRI open. As BRI evolves beyond infrastructure, MNCs' chances are likely to keep improving because many enjoy competitive advantages over Chinese firms in areas such as manufacturing, trading and tourism.

Besides being a commercial venture that pumps China's economy to the next stage, BRI is more of a way to create a more equitable global economic system. That said, MNCs that manage to position themselves well should find BRI a striking, multiyear opportunity.
(English version only)
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