An overview of China's public-private partnerships and their use in the belt & road initiative of Southeast Asia
Siau, Wui Kien
Date of Issue2018-07-27
S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies
The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) was officially launched in 2013 by President Xi Jinping of China. Based on the narrative of the ancient Silk Road, the initiative envisages enhancing regional connectivity through infrastructure, trade and investment in Asia and Europe. The present focus of the BRI is on infrastructure projects such as high-speed railways. Within Southeast Asia, the Singapore-Kunming Rail Link (SKRL) is one such project. In 2017, China announced using Public-Private Partnership (PPP) as the “preferred” model to facilitate the completion of projects within the BRI. This dissertation hence examines the inclusion of the PPP model in the BRI/SKRL from a foreign policy perspective. A historical approach is used to understand the Chinese PPPs. Findings revealed that China’s State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) form bulk of the “private” party in PPP. This may have implications as Chinese companies are generally not welcome in Southeast Asia. Furthermore, the PPP model is a construct of the BRI narrative (similar to the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) before it), and the question is whether it was introduced to allow Chinese companies maximum participation in emerging economies or for other reasons. Finally, the thesis argued if the BRI narrative is really a derivative of Xi’s Asian/China Dream. If so, does this imply that Xi intends China to dominate Asia and revive the tributary system of old?
DRNTU::Social sciences::Political science::Political institutions::Asia