China’s One Belt, One Road Initiative

Chinese President Xi Jinping attends a news conference at the end of the Belt and Road Forum in Beijing, China May 15, 2017. REUTERS/Jason Lee
Updated 10 December 2017
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China’s One Belt, One Road Initiative

LONDON: China is seeking to re-build an ancient network of land and ocean silk trade routes between Asia and Europe to help to increase trade and improve transport logistics.
The project involves many roads, railways, ports and maritime routes. The land-based projects are the belt. The road is the maritime routes that will connect up China’s southern provinces to south-east Asia and the east coast of Africa with ports and railways.
The project has already signed off on $1.3 trillion worth of projects, including major infrastructure works in Africa and Central Asia. It will involve 65 countries with a total population reach of 4.4 billion with a share of the global economy of more than 30 percent. It is said to be more than seven times larger than America’s Marshall Plan to rebuild Europe after the World War II.
China believes emerging markets in its neighborhood will be more willing to accept Chinese-made high-speed rail, energy generators and telecommunications equipment if it is instrumental in building mega infrastructure projects.
Pakistan, for instance, badly needs a proper power network as electricity outages are common for many hours of the day. An additional theory is that China wants to make the renminbi the main trade and investment currency as part of a bid to replace the dollar.
During a recent summit in Beijing, China’s President Xi Jinping said trade was the important engine of economic development, and he tried to reassure Western diplomats that the plan was not simply an attempt to promote Chinese influence globally.
“In advancing the Belt and Road, we will not re-tread the old path of games between foes. Instead we will build an open platform of co-operation and uphold and grow an open world economy,” Xi told delegates at the conference.


More than 100 Saudi groups at Dubai’s GITEX week

Updated 22 September 2019

More than 100 Saudi groups at Dubai’s GITEX week

  • GITEX is an international platform

DUBAI: More than 100 Saudi organizations, including government entities, private companies and startups, are participating at the upcoming GITEX Technology Week in Dubai, from Oct. 6 to 10, indicating an increase in Saudi participation from last year at the annual technology gathering.

Bringing in one of the biggest contingents at the event, at 114, Saudi Arabia is also an official partner of GITEX this year, which is expecting to host more than 100,000 visitors over four days at the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC).

“There’s a lot of collaboration and integration in this region — there’s a lot of learning and sharing. GITEX is an international platform. This is where the Saudi contingent comes — from the big enterprise sector to the startup ecosystem — to interact with hundreds and thousands of visitors from over 140 countries,” Trixie LohMirmand, senior vice president of events management at DWTC, told reporters on Sunday.

LohMirmand also noted a spike in Saudi participation at the GITEX Future Stars, a concurrent event that focuses on the region’s startup community.

“We have a big Saudi Innovation Day. In fact, Saudis are again bringing a big contingent of startups. It’s led by the deputy minister of communications from Saudi Arabia to explore partnerships and discuss the opportunities in the region, particularly for startups,” she said, referring to the three special sessions that will focus on the Kingdom’s technology drive.

This increase in participation, LohMirmand said, is a reflection of a bigger “impetus on innovation and the getting the startup community going” in the region.

“We see a lot of new tech coming out, so there’s a lot of interest to give these companies an opportunity to connect to the rest of the world. When you come to GITEX, we connect you to the rest of the world — we host over 500 investors from all around the world, including from Silicon Valley,” she added.

Firat Aktas, DWTC’s director of brand innovation and communication, stressed: “You can see what’s happening around the world — the Saudis are showing their ambition very clearly in various industries.”

Earlier this year, the Saudi Telecom Company signed a deal with Swedish telecommunications company Ericsson to launch commercial 5G services in the Kingdom. “The roll-out continues. It’s a huge deployment in different parts of Saudi Arabia,” Wojciech Bajda, head of Gulf Council countries and global customer unit zain, told Arab News. “The focus for our customers currently is to understand how to monetize 5G, how to make sure there’s an industrial application of 5G in Saudi Arabia.”

Bajda also said they are looking at introducing 5G to different sectors in the Kingdom such as mining, and oil and gas. “We have engagements with different industries in trying to prototype together, and see if there’s something relevant for Saudi Arabia, and for our customers like the Saudi Telecom Company to pick up and do a full implementation,” he added. 

What to expect at GITEX this year 

This year’s GITEX, which has the theme “Synergizing the Mind and Technology Economy,” will highlight the region’s 5G adoption, as well as other futuristic concepts such as artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, and immersive technology.

LohMirmand said the dwelling time for GITEX visitors has increased over the years, owing to the gathering’s massive content offering.

“We are measuring more in terms of dwelling time. You can have 100,000 people come one day and do, but now the trend for us is we’re seeing them staying longer. Because there’s so much content, there’s so much knowledge, and so many companies with new technology, dwelling time is much longer, averaging 3.5 to 4 days,” she explained.

“Visitors and exhibitors are having deeper and more meaningful interactions at the show.”

The halls of DWTC will be divided into six sectors: 5G, AI, Future mobility, GITEX lifestyle tech, and Smart cities. It opens Oct. 6.