Central Asia is swept by China’s ‘One Belt, One Road’ project

Jul 31, 2016 12:00 AM

Investments in the Central Asian states of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan amounted to $50 billion in 2014. This amount is larger than the Russian investment of $30 billion.

China's huge capital outlay in Central Asia is part of the "One Belt, One Road" (OBOR) Project launched in 2014. The project aims to revive the ancient Silk Road, which seeks to beef up investments in Eurasia.

The OBOR Project aims to widen China's influence in the global market and find countries to export steel. To be able to do this, the country must put investments on transportation and improve interconnectivity among countries.

Currently, China owns 25 percent of Kazakhstan's oil industry. Half of Turkmenistan's gas exports are from Chinese-owned conglomerates.

Uzbekistan signed a deal worth $15 billion to strengthen uranium and gas industries.

Aside from investments on oil and gas, China built roads, tunnels and bridges across the region to improve its productivity.

Russia has been edged out and is now only second to China in dominating the Central Asian market. China constructed an oil pipeline from Kazakhstan that broke Turkmenistan's dependence on Russia.

The first freight train that travels from Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan eased travel and trade. Exchange of goods from eastern China to Central Asia was usually done by sea and took a month and a half to transport.

Chinese goods can now be transported by train and it only takes two weeks to ship.

Aside from Central Asia, China is already at the forefront of trade in Iran, Africa and South America. President Xi Jinping already earmarked $250 billion in the next decade to build a high-speed railway through the Brazilian rainforest.

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