Chinese companies have signed 1,401 project contracts worth $37.6 billion in countries along its Silk Road initiative in the first half of this year, nearly half of combined overseas contract value, according to official data released on Tuesday.
The contracts were worth $37.6 billion, up 16.7 per cent year on year, and accounting for 43.3 per cent of contracts in the period, Shen Danyang, the Ministry of Commerce (MOC) spokesman, said.
Chinese companies signed overseas project contracts worth $86.7 billion in the first six months, representing an increase of 6.9 per cent year on year, he said.
In March this year, China’s President Xi Jinping said he hoped its annual trade with the countries involved in Beijing’s plan to create a modern Silk Road would surpass $2.5 trillion in a decade.
Under the so-called “One Belt, One Road” initiative, China aims to create a modern Silk Road Economic Belt and a 21st Century Maritime Silk Road to boost trade and extend its global influence.
Hungary last month signed an agreement with China officially joining Beijing’s ambitious Silk Road network.
Hungary becomes the first European country to join China’s “One Belt, One Road” project. The Silk Road could be the second China-led project in recent months to attract a flurry of EU participation.
Russia has already promised to link its new Eurasia Economic Union with China’s Belt and Road.
The Silk Road connected China and Europe from around 100 B.C.
The 4,000-mile road linked ancient Chinese, Indian, Babylonian, Arabic, Greek and Roman civilizations.
A new map unveiled by Xinhua shows the Chinese plans for the Silk Road run through Central China to the northern Xinjiang from where it travels through Central Asia entering Kazakhstan and onto Iraq, Iran, Syria and then Istanbul in Turkey from where it runs across Europe cutting across Germany, Netherlands and Italy.
The maritime Silk Road begins in China’s Fujian and ends at Venice, Italy.
The network would include building railways, highways, oil and gas pipelines, power grids, Internet networks, maritime and other infrastructure links.
Earlier last year, China announced a $40 billion Silk Road Fund to strengthen connectivity in the Asia-Pacific region.
China’s Xinjiang province will host fifty-five cities from 17 countries, including Britain, Germany, Russia and France, for a Silk Road development forum later this month, officials said on Monday.
The “Silk Road Economic Belt Cities Cooperation and Development Forum” will be held from July 23 to 25 in the regional capital of Urumqi.
TBP and Agencies