Digital Silk Road

Dr. Jean-Marc F. Blanchard's picture

The Digital Silk Road, part III-A Scan of Effects Shows Mixed Signals

This blog is the last of three on China’s Digital Silk Road (DSR) initiative. The 1st gave an overview of the DSR while the 2nd probed some of DSR's features in terms of foreign direct investment (FDI) and contracting. This blog considers two potential political effects of the DSR, its effect on participant country relations with China and its effect on participant country political regimes and civil liberties. Regarding the former, there are concerns China’s DSR technologies will ensnare countries partaking of the DSR.

Dr. Jean-Marc F. Blanchard's picture

The Digital Silk Road, part II-Dialing Down the Hyperbole

My last blog supplied a basic overview of China’s Digital Silk Road (DSR) initiative, part of its larger Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). This blog represents a first cut at detailing the DSR. Unfortunately, as with the BRI, it is quite challenging to do so well. Reasons include the non-existence of a public, official list of DSR projects, the misclassification of technology-related foreign direct investment (FDI) in areas such as smartphone manufacturing and semiconductor packing and testing operations as DSR-space FDI even though they have nothing to do with connectivity, and the unwillingness of participant countries to disclose the terms of their contracting deals with China.

Dr. Jean-Marc F. Blanchard's picture

The Digital Silk Road, part I-Cloudy Networked World Calling

China’s Digital Silk Road (DSR), which is part of the larger Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), came into being in 2015 and accelerated after 2017. Broadly speaking, the DSR promotes connectivity in the information and communication technology (ICT) space and encompasses projects relating to artificial intelligence, cloud computing, fintech (e-payments), smart and safe cities, and telecommunications. It is not entirely clear how many countries are participating in the DSR, though it has been reported that 16 countries have signed DSR Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) with China.

Dr. Jean-Marc F. Blanchard's picture

Circling around China’s Dual Circulation Policy, part III-Implications for China’s Outward FDI

This piece complements two earlier pieces that, respectively, overviewed China’s Dual Circulation System (DSC) and pondered its implications for inward foreign direct investment (FDI) into China. It specifically focuses on the potential ramifications of the DCS for Chinese outward FDI (OFDI). Prima facie one logically might expect the DCS to moderate Chinese OFDI since its goals include inter alia enhancing China’s indigenous capabilities, insulating China from an occasionally hostile external environment, and increasing domestic consumption and production. In actuality, though, these and other DCS aims do not support the premise the DCS will result in Chinese money shunning the outside world.

Dr. Amitendu Palit's picture

Investments and Connectivity: Digital Capacity Matters

The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and upcoming regional connectivity plans like the Asia-Africa Growth Corridor (AAGC) should stimulate foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows in countries getting connected and developing new industrial and other capacities. These investments, among other factors, would be driven by local and national capacities to do business across cyberspace. Discussions on connectivity often overlook this vital element as they focus on land and sea links.