Digital connectivity will create more business opportunities for Chinese and foreign companies in markets related to the Belt and Road Initiative, and contribute to social and economic development, said a senior executive from a global consultancy firm.
Vaughn Barber, global chair for KPMG Global China Practice, said that while collaboration between Chinese and foreign companies in infrastructure, resource and manufacturing projects remain key to unlocking the economic development potential of many countries and regions, opportunities also exist to explore how new technologies and business model innovations developed in China can generate a positive impact on prosperity in other economies.
As China has upped its digitalization and technological innovation, Barber said it has allowed the country to realize significant productivity, or digital dividends for its economy.
"New and cutting-edge technologies are providing a range of new possibilities for Chinese companies, in both traditional and high value-added industries," he said, adding they are helping to "boost productivity, unlock new demand and increase their competitiveness in domestic and global markets.
"Digitalization is already a key driver and enabler of transformation for companies operating in the Chinese market, and we expect this to become another significant dimension of efforts to enhance connectivity within and among countries and regions related to the BRI," said Barber.
Eager to enhance their earning ability, many countries related to the initiative, such as Russia, Poland, Egypt, Malaysia, Indonesia and Nigeria, plan to attract more investors from China in the service outsourcing industry, especially the digital economy, to boost goods trade and other commercial activities, as well as their job market, according to information showed on the Ministry of Commerce website.
Spotting the growing importance of China's outbound direct investment, KPMG formed the Global China Practice in 2010. Today, it has teams in more than 400 locations around the world, including countries and regions involved in the BRI.
Barber said that supporting Chinese and global firms to develop businesses in markets related to the initiative will continue to be a priority for KPMG.
China's outbound direct investment in economies involved in the BRI rose 12 percent year-on-year to $9.6 billion between January and August this year, according to data from the Beijing-based China Council for the Promotion of International Trade. These countries accounted for 12 percent of China's ODI in 2017.
Backed by its population size, growing consumption power and fast urbanization pace, the BRI has the potential of having a lasting positive impact on global growth, said Li Guanghui, vice-president of the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation.