The Silk Road was an ancient network of trade routes started in 120BC. For centuries, it was central to cultural exchange and trade between the East and West. Trade on the Silk Road was instrumental in the development of the Chinese Empire.
Fast forward to today, China is trying to revive the ancient Silk Road with its One Belt, One Road initiative. The initiative aims to stimulate demand for domestic goods with China investing in strategic infrastructure abroad and strengthening economic ties along the old Silk Road to Europe.
We are beginning to see this ambitious plan take shape, with the first freight train launched from China having reached London successfully. This also marks the first rail link between China and Great Britain.
The London link is an addition to China’s growing portfolio of rail links. There are now 39 lines that connect 12 European cities with 16 cities, a demonstration of China’s active efforts in boosting infrastructure links with Europe.
The 18-day journey will see trains crossing Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus, Poland, Germany, Belgium, France and the UK. Due to the differences in rail gauge, goods have to be loaded on different trains along the way.
As China continues to invest in infrastructure in the region, we can expect the establishment of more rail links, stimulating economic improvement for countries that lie along the Silk Road.
Want to know more about the opportunities created by China’s One Belt, One Road? Do not miss Yi Min’s keynote session on 22 March 2017. Yi Min is the Chief Advisor of China Business at MTR Corporation.
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