One Belt One Road: Chinese Strategic Investment in the 21st Century
It is September 2013. The new Chinese President Xi Jinping will soon launch his tour in Central Asia. On this tour, the President is deciding whether to launch a grand investment strategy, which he calls “One Belt One Road” (OBOR). Through this plan, he hopes to achieve a range of economic, domestic, and geopolitical goals. Economically, China needs to transition into a growth model that is sustainable but still delivers high growth rates. Domestically, Xi needs to boost the popularity of the Communist Party and consolidate his power relative to other factions. Geopolitically, China is seeking to gain political leverage in Central Asia. Critics of the plan have raised a variety of concerns, including the profitability of the investments, its impact on the government’s efforts to transition to a sustainable growth model, and the potential for backlash to the plan’s geopolitical ambitions.