The tangible development of the Belt and Road Initiative could become a new economic world order in the long run, thanks to its massive population base, growing demand for infrastructure and economic movement, said the global head of a German industrial group.
Joe Kaeser, president and CEO of Siemens AG, said from a long-term perspective, population determines economic growth. Even though it will take some time, the number of people determines the potential of economic development.
"If an initiative like the BRI unifies more than two-thirds of the global population, it will create massive infrastructure and economic movement which will build its own rules naturally," he said.
Kaeser made the remarks after the Berlin and Munich-headquartered group signed a memorandum of understanding with the Belt and Road Construction Promotion Center of China's National Development and Reform Commission to establish a partnership for pragmatic cooperation on the BRI.
"BRI has proved to be a strong force linking people and economies through cross-border solutions and supporting the global multi regions to achieve social prosperity," said Kaeser, stressing that Siemens is the first global company to form a comprehensive partnership with the Chinese government for BRI development.
Under the memorandum, the NDRC department and Siemens will work together to promote dialogue and cooperation between Chinese and German industry, especially in such fields as energy, transportation, manufacturing and digitalization. The two sides will jointly support cooperation on BRI projects in third-party markets, and investment and financing of BRI projects.
Kaeser said one of the benefits of the BRI is that it aims to create demand, especially in areas of infrastructure. This is why Siemens supports working together and cooperating through means of partnerships.
According to the MOU, the two sides will also strengthen exchanges on policies and technologies in such aspects as "Digital Silk Road" related industries, investment and finance in order to promote the application of digitalization in BRI projects.
"The BRI brings logistics to Europe so that Chinese and European companies can work together in that area," said Kaeser. "Still, Europe has a lot of innovative companies, and they can bring their innovation power to China. So there are many activities that can be done there."
Supported by more than 34,000 employees in China, Siemens generated revenue of 8.1 billion euros ($9.16 billion) in the country in its fiscal 2018 year. It also set up a global office to coordinate businesses related to the BRI in Beijing last year.
Affected by the changing global situation and growing uncertainties, the BRI offers a new impetus to the recovery of the world economy. The improvement in infrastructure, transportation, healthcare, digital-related manufacturing will not only restore developing strength of the world economy, but also bring new opportunities for the partnership between domestic and global companies, said Zhao Minghao, a senior researcher at the China Center for Contemporary World Studies.
He said more member economies of the European Union are expected to follow the BRI development as there is huge potential in regional connectivity and economic prosperity, with Italy becoming the first of the Group of Seven industrialized nations to sign an intergovernmental MOU in Rome with China on developing the BRI on Saturday.