Belt and Road
The Greatest Project of this Century
The Belt and Road (BnR for short) is the collective term for the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, and is also a regional economic initiative proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping. This region covers a total of 65 countries, within which is 62% of the world’s population and 30% of the global economy.
Developing of Belt and Road
Since the commencement of the BnR initiative, more than 3,000 projects have been contracted. In the year 2015, Chinese companies focused their investments on 49 of the BnR countries, resulting in an increase in total annual investments of 18.2%. Within the same year, BnR contracts to China amounted to USD 17.8 billion, of which USD 12.2 billion has been successfully transacted, causing a total increment of 42.6% and 23.45% respectively.
In May 2017, President Xi Jinping announced over the BnR Summit that a total of USD 113 billion would be invested to further advance infrastructural developments within regions covered by the initiative. 70 countries and international organizations pledged their participation in the initiative. With a void in global cooperation left by American President Trump’s “America First” policy, China takes the opportunity to set an example for modern day collaboration, which could very well pave the way for the BnR initiative to become the largest project of this century.
Within the first two quarters of 2016, Sino-Euro train services clocked a total of 1881 trips, of which 502 where return trips, creating a total of USD 17 billion in trade volume. Moving on to the second quarter of 2016, crew of the train routes donned their new BnR outfits, bearing the emblem of a train and silk strands, henceforth marking a new era in the region’s economic development.
The Greatest Market Reform of this Decade
The Greatest Market Reform of this Decade
Fintech, a term derived from the combination of “Finance” and “Technology”, has been gaining popularity over the past decade. Differing from the term “Internet Finance” (such as Alipay, Zhima Credit, etc), Internet Finance could be understood as a stage whereby part of the value chain moves online. Fintech however covers a much broader spectrum, including AI, VR, and more. The primary difference in the two could be understood as Internet Finance being the innovative use of internet technology in business models, while Fintech is the application of technology to the entire finance sector.
Looking back at the economic advancements since WW2, we have witnessed the application of modern technology to areas of trade and commerce, communications and computing, and yet the age-old financial institutions and their outdated practices remains untouched and unaltered till date. And such is the reason for the cyclical collapse of financial institutions, not nimble enough to cope with the tech-driven pace of modern economic progress.
Progress of FinTech
A Need for Finance Innovation
The 2008 global financial crisis led the leaders of the tech industry to shift their focus to the financial sector. In 2009, Bitcoin’s creator Satoshi Nakamoto proposed in his white paper a P2P model for financial transactions, backed by a piece of technology known as the Blockchain, which could solve the need for centralized third party mediation during financial transactions, and thus largely reduce the actual cost of transaction. The decentralized financial model quickly took flight, and today we see the rise of virtual currencies and their serious efforts in challenging the validity of the conventional financial system.
The Internet as a Catalyst
Every few decades, mankind finds in itself the ability to create something that would change the course of history, forcing society to quickly adapt to the new rules created. Those who seized the opportunity would rise to the top, while those who missed the ride would sink to the bottom. 30 years ago, we witnessed the birth of the Internet, and how over the past 3 decades it has crept into every corner of our life. In the next 30 years, financial functions built on the foundation of the blockchain technology could very well become the next game changer.
The Marriage of Finance and Technology
The potential of realizing such a future has gained the attention of many world and industry leaders. From the coining of the term “Fintech” till its current popularity, we see an inevitable wave of change that would ultimately reshape the financial world that we know today.