Feature Stories

09.05.2017

One Belt, One Road – A Connected Future

In a series of stories, we discuss with leading thinkers what “One Belt One Road” means to the business world and Hong Kong as well as the role our School can play. Two prominent leaders Dr Vincent H.S. Lo and Dr Hans Michael Jebsen, together with faculty of HKUST and our partner school, share their insights

Launched in 2013 by President Xi Jinping, the One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative aims to transform the level of connectivity, cooperation and trade between a band of nations stretching from China, across Asia, and into Eastern Europe and Africa.

Embracing more than 60 countries, with a combined population well in excess of four billion people, the scale and ambition of this project is breathtaking.

The states involved are strung along the land-based ‘Silk Road Economic Belt’ and the ‘Maritime Silk Road’, routes that formed the basis of the ancient Silk Road. But instead of silks and spices, today’s deals are being struck over high-tech railways, energy pipelines, ports and highways, with estimates for the possible eventual levels of investment soaring into the trillions of US dollars.

When he announced his initiative, it’s unlikely that President Xi foresaw events such as the election of President Trump in the US and the Brexit vote in the UK. However, there’s no doubt that the chilling effect these, and similar populist votes across Europe, threaten to have on world trade, mean a shift in China’s focus away from the West. This could come to seem very timely.

There are naysayers, of course. They wonder how many of the OBOR countries have the political stability, a large enough pool of skilled workers or sufficient basic infrastructure, to ensure investment isn’t a reckless gamble. Or they question whether the initiative isn’t really simply a Chinese bid for regional hegemony. 

But if the initiative delivers on its promise, not only will the lives of hundreds of millions of people be radically improved, huge commercial opportunities will also be created - not least for businesses and professions in Hong Kong.

Inevitably, entrepreneurs and investors will be looking for information about developing OBOR markets and for contacts within them. The HKUST Business School is already undertaking such research work and building relationships - such as with the Moscow School of Management Skolkovo - that will furnish the School with connections in Central Asia and beyond.

Mapping Out a Business Plan

Two leading local businessmen who saw, firsthand, the opening up of the Mainland’s own economy, share their take on the OBOR initiative...more

Getting Road Ready for Education and Research

As both an educator and a research powerhouse, the HKUST Business School can help executives and entrepreneurs seize the opportunities opened up by OBOR...more

Central Asia: Partnership for Growth

Although Central Asia did not appear often on the international business radar just a few years ago, the region slowly but surely is making its way up the list of the most important business destinations to watch out for over  the next 10-15 years...more