CPEC & Xinjiang top cornerstones of BRI

By Muhammad Zamir Assadi

CHINESE President Xi Jinping, also General Secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, recently inspected the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region in north-western China and visited officials and the general public of different ethnic groups.

Xi stressed that with the country opening wider to the world, the western region being further developed, and the Belt and Road Initiative being materialized, Xinjiang has changed from a relatively closed inland region to a frontier of opening up.

The region should develop the core area of the Silk Road Economic Belt, incorporate its regional opening-up strategy into the overall layout of the country’s westward opening up, innovate the system for an open economy, speed up the construction of major opening-up corridors, so that it can make better use of international and domestic markets and resources and actively serve and integrate itself into the country’s new pattern of development.

BRI is a transcontinental long-term policy and investment program which aims at infrastructure development and acceleration of the economic integration of countries along the route of the historic Silk Road.

The Initiative was unveiled in 2013 by Chinese President Xi Jinping and until 2016, was known as OBOR – One Belt One Road.

On March 28, 2015, the official outline for the Belt and Road Initiative was issued by the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) and the Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), with authorization of the State Council.

According to the official outline, BRI aims to “promote the connectivity of Asian, European and African continents and their adjacent seas, establish and strengthen partnerships among the countries along the Belt and Road, set up all-dimensional, multi-tiered and composite connectivity networks, and realize diversified, independent, balanced and sustainable development in these countries.”

Under the umbrella of the BRI, domestic and foreign financial institutions have been pouring into northwest China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, looking for opportunities under China’s BRI.

Experts say that there are abundant opportunities in the infrastructure sector, as major investment is planned, and that will attract even more companies into Xinjiang.

Xinjiang is the starting point of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which links the region with the Gwadar port in Pakistan. The CPEC is estimated to draw infrastructure investment of $62 billion.

The Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region will spend 30 billion Yuan on expanding basic industries and infrastructure, mainly in transport, telecommunications, water conservancy, agriculture, energy development and raw material.

It shows the significance of CPEC as Xinjiang, being a starting point of one of the main corridors of BRI, is focusing on infrastructural development.

The infrastructural development in Xinjiang will complement the construction of CPEC that will hugely benefit the goals and aims of the greater version of the economic corridor.

Pakistan, being a very close neighbour of China and bordering with Xinjiang, has huge potential to get maximum benefits from the infrastructural development of Xinjiang.

Xinjiang is investing on expanding basic industries and infrastructure, mainly in transport, telecommunications, water conservancy, agriculture, energy development and raw material, so Pakistan got the splendid opportunity to take maximum benefits from this development in these specific areas.

The Urumqi International Land Port Area in northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region is well on its way to become an important growth pole powering the autonomous region’s opening-up and economic development.

By June 2022, the land port area had operated more than 5,900 China-Europe freight train trips via 21 routes linking 26 cities in 19 European and Asian countries and regions. The trains carry over 200 categories of goods, ranging from daily necessities and garments to mechanical equipment and building material.

The Belt and Road Initiative, which initiated a new prospect for China’s opening up, has also provided unprecedented opportunities for Xinjiang which is located at the heart of the ancient Silk Road.

The autonomous region posted over 67.4 billion Yuan in foreign trade value in the first five months of this year, up 30.9 percent year on year.

Pakistan through CPEC may expand its trade linkages with Central Asian and European countries through Xinjiang that offers more quick and affordable trade routes in a more peaceful and sustainable way.

Pakistan may evolve more dynamic strategies and explore more options to expand CPEC through Xinjiang for opening up its trade linkages in a greater way that will be beneficial for the domestic economy and trade boom.

(Muhammad Zamir Assadi is a journalist of Pakistani media outlet Independent News Pakistan.The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Global Times Online)

China’s Sci-Tech Is Going Global

By Chanmolika Seng

China’s new “dual circulation” development paradigm is tremendously reshaping its fast growing industrial system, in particular the advancement of independent innovation capabilities and the breakthrough of core technology. Many countries are competing in this emerging sci-tech revolution, which has significantly driven one’s economic growth. China, the world’s second largest economy, has been striving to transform itself into the fastest tech-innovation nation. China strives to promote its technology industry to the international market and to become an important and dynamic actor on the world stage. Meanwhile, Chinese firms are increasingly utilizing more and more Artificial Intelligence (AI) innovation in their business models.

Founded in early 2000, Baidu is a world-leading AI company with a dynamic focus on technology and innovation. Baidu first launched its platform as a search engine, responding to billions of search queries from more than 100 countries every day. After becoming one of the only four countries to introduce search engines, Baidu kicked off its AI capability development in 2014. It then developed AI voice, images, knowledge graph, and natural language processing. In 2016, Baidu launched an open source deep learning platform with 4 million developers in operation. Other than that, Baidu has been investing in conversational AI operating systems, autonomous driving, and AI chips. Baidu AI Cloud is ranked No. 1 in China’s AI public cloud market and Baidu Apollo represents the best of autonomous driving in China.

Concerning China’s technology competitiveness, Kuaishou, China’s biggest sharing platform, monetizes primarily through sales of virtual gifts, advertising, provision of various forms of online marketing services, and charges for offering e-commerce technology services. Kuaishou launched its first tech product in 2011, “animated images known as GIFs”, and became the first mover in China’s short video industry in 2012. Within two years, Kuaishou gradually transformed its products into a short-film video platform. In 2017, Kuaishou Flagship became the world’s largest single live streaming platform in terms of revenue generated from virtual gifting. In this regard, Kuaishou’s total revenue is RMB 21.1 billion, equivalent to USD 3.16 billion, a year-on-year growth of 23.8%. For the past ten years, Kuaishou’s applications and mini programs in China exceeded 302 million daily active users, while its newly innovated Express platform reached more than 100 million users.

With the massive development of China’s technology industry, Kuaishou and Baidu are playing pivotal roles in bringing China’s innovation to go global, while also representing the new transformation of digital. The two technology companies have become the most widely used platforms in China, and are expanding their growing influences in other regions, including Latin America and some parts of the United States.

As cloud, AI, and Internet grow increasingly integrated, Baidu has formed a new multi-engine growth pattern with investments in frontier AI fields including mobile ecosystem, Baidu AI Cloud, smart transportation, and intelligent driving, delivering strong potential for future development. In addition to Baidu, Kuaishou progressively utilizes machine learning as its core technology in order to build an engaging portal and embrace community for the new generation of digital life.

(Chanmolika Seng is a journalist ofCambodian media outlet Fresh News.The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Global Times Online)

The Chinese Dragon and the African Giant

By Mohamed Saad Kamel

For decades, the African continent has been swimming in complete darkness of ignorance, poverty, wars, and famines. Until this moment, Africa is still suffering despite the development of the world in all respects.

Although the African continent is full of all the ingredients for success in terms of land, nature, and people, the opportunities in Africa have only been exploited by the old colonialists and the modern colonizers who, to this moment, are managing most of Africa through immoral practices and under the pretext of humanity and under the wing of organizations of murder and theft and through partnerships. Some African leaders and politicians benefit from it in cooperation with these colonial countries.

But the China-Africa partnership can benefit from the failures of other partnerships, such as colonial partnerships, which aim only to exploit the natural resources of the African continent by fueling tribal, political, and ethnic conflict. China should continue to support Africa in priority areas, and strengthen the capabilities of African countries to achieve this.

Encouraging countries in various ways to respond to the current demands of the people of an economic nature. Africans should see China as the savior and the true partner for Africa, and they must see that China is a partner that does not have colonial ambitions, but rather that it shares with many other developing countries the same historical background. The People’s Republic of China is a partner that provides important support without any preconditions.

China understands African priorities the most and has a good reputation among African countries in terms of respecting the cultures of other countries.

Today in Beijing 20-21, 2022, China is running a huge economic event through a China-Africa think-tank to promote the spirit of friendship and cooperation between China and Africa on joint action and the global development initiative.

Historically, trade between China and Africa grew by 700% during the 1990s, and China is currently Africa’s largest trading partner.

The China-Africa Cooperation Forum was established in October 2000 as an official forum to closely promote relations. A few Western countries, such as the United Kingdom and the United States, have become concerned about the important political, economic, and military roles that China plays on the African continent.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry also stresses China’s development commitments to Africa, and also states that China and Africa are making “joint efforts to safeguard the legal rights of developing countries, and move forward towards the establishment of a new, equitable and just political and economic order in the world.”

In addition, the Chinese side will support the African integration process and help Africa enhance its capacity for comprehensive development.

It will establish with Africa a partnership on cross-border and cross-regional infrastructure development, support projects related to planning and feasibility studies, and encourage the establishment of Chinese companies and financial institutions to participate in the development of cross-border and regional infrastructure in Africa.

China will also help African countries modernize customs and inspect goods to promote inter-regional trade. The Chinese side will also promote people-to-people friendship, laying a solid foundation for people’s support to promote Sino-African common development. China proposes to carry out the work of “China-Africa People’s Friendship” to support and strengthen exchanges and cooperation between people’s organizations, women, and the youth of the two sides.

China will also launch the “Initiative on China-Africa Cooperative Partnership for Peace and Stability”, deepen cooperation with the African Union and African countries in maintaining peace and security in Africa, and provide financial support for African Union peacekeeping missions and the development of the African Standby Force, in addition to training more security officials and peacekeepers in the African Union.

All these benefits Africa reaps from the Chinese dragon and more, and without any interference in internal politics, and without any military intervention, conspiracies, or support for one party over the other, and the permanent question remains why Africa does not turn to China to form together an indomitable economic and social force.

(Mohamed Saad Kamel is the editor-in-chief of Sudanese media outlet Brown Land News. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Global Times Online.)