Foreign businesses see Belt and Road as development opportunity
The Belt and Road Initiative has brought concrete benefits to both Chinese and foreign businesses, said a number of company executives.
Angelos Karakostas, deputy CEO of Greece's Piraeus Port Authority, said at a press conference Thursday that the port's cooperation with China's shipping giant COSCO has proved to be a win-win. COSCO has been running Pier II and Pier III of the Port of Piraeus through its subsidiary since 2008. In 2017, the port's annual throughput grew to 4.15 million TEUs from 880,000 TEUs in 2008, bringing the port's global ranking up to 36th from 93rd.
The China Communications Construction Company has seen a surge in overseas investment since the Belt and Road Initiative proposed in 2013, with new contract value exceeding 1.1 trillion yuan (158.5 billion U.S. dollars). One of its major projects is the Mombasa-Nairobi Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) in Kenya, which created some 46,000 local jobs and contributed more than 1.5 percent to Kenya's GDP.
China's Wanhua Chemical Group has been expanding its footprint along the Belt and Road in Europe, with market share increasing rapidly after its acquisition of Hungarian chemical producer BorsodChem in 2011. BorsodChem turned a profit in 2015 and keep more than 3,000 jobs.
Proposed by China, the Belt and Road Initiative refers to the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, aimed at building a trade and infrastructure network connecting Asia with Europe and Africa along the ancient trade routes of the Silk Road.