16 August 2014
China’s emergence as the ‘factory of the world’, based on its focus on exporting labour-intensive manufactures, is well-known. Less well-known is the role that infrastructure played in this strategy.
From 1992 to 2011 China spent 8.5 per cent of GDP on infrastructure, much more than the developing country average of 2–4 per cent, according to a 2013 McKinsey Global Institute report. And, from 1992 to 2007, China spent US$120 billion on building 35,000 kilometres of highways.
China’s push for infrastructure development within its borders picked up pace with its Western Development or ‘Go West’ policy, implemented in 2000. Under this policy, the government sought to address the growing economic disparity between the prosperous coastal region and the inner western region by building infrastructure towards the hinterland, and by attracting investments to the west.
Last year, China devised a ‘New Silk Roads’ policy to enhance connectivity with neighbouring countries. This policy has two components: a ‘Silk Road Economic Belt’ for land connectivity initially with Central Asia and a ‘21st century Maritime Silk Road’ to connect China with ASEAN and, ultimately, with the coastal cities of South Asia as well.
… Pradumna B. Rana is Associate Professor at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore.
CMS / GPO / RSIS / Online
Last updated on 18/08/2014