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2017
Asia Needs more Dialogue
Solutions to urban pollution may prove complex
Spread of ESGs could herald new global movement
Investing in quality education is imperative if India wants to reap demographic dividends
China needs to lead in new multi-stakeholder world
China’s B&R initiative leading a resurgence of Asia
Education is key - but long-term: Can we survive?
New wave of robots will be beneficial to all
China needs to continue with its ‘heavy lifting’
Time is right for Chinese firms to invest in Europe
Robots to the rescue for China?
Asian Multinationals are Going Global, But to Where?
China ratchets forward with energy efforts
China’s calm necessary for globalization push
Bridging managerial gaps involves trust-building
China well-placed to power its future through green technology advances
China's new 'springtime' is here
2016
China’s moves show it’s banking on the future
Mindset for action at the G20 summit will be determined by Chinese presidency
Chinese head-hunting intensifies for rare managers that can steer overseas firms
US talk of isolation jars with growing links in Europe and Asia
Electoral rhetoric on global trade not in sync with reality
Is it time to be prudent and consider austerity policies again?
What will we do if we have no oil?
Unlock talent by finding the right fit for a person
The benefits are real and tangible
Trade along China’s ‘One Belt, One Road’ won’t succeed without the currency of trust
Reasons for optimism about the long term
2015
Can big oil go green and win?
Poorer Nations Could Sway Climate Talks
Combating Idleness and Deprivation
How China can be a model of food sustainability for the developing world
Kyoto II – Is it a Done Deal?
A meeting of the two largest economic powers
Why China will experience a 'soft' landing
Beware of superstitions
The Elephant and Dragon move ahead
G-7 target on fossil fuels raises many questions
Why Battle for Net Neutrality in the US Matters Globally
China’s resurgence – the ‘normal new’
Wanted: A managerial culture that embraces cultural differences
China's early education plan a smart investment in the future
The New Normal for China and India
2014
China's infrastructure push offers a sure track to better growth
US-China climate pact a good start, but not quite enough
Rethink the human’s place in the ‘digital revolution’
China springs a carbon surprise
Infrastructure - the invisible hand in full view
Dialogue vital for survival of Iraqi nation
China must nurture a new generation of beautiful minds
Great expectations in China and India
GM Cereals – The Pros and Corns
Time to be Honest about Our Energy Prospects
Weathering the Storm of Climate Change
Making a Big Decision? Beware of Your Biases
West Deserves Better Logistics Infrastructure
Digital Currencies do Represent the Future
From 'Printed' Houses to Wooden Skyscrapers
It’s time to bail out our schools, not our firms
Solution to India’s housing shortage – print new ones!
And the most promising green technologies of 2014 are ...
Transport infrastructure key to domestic, export growth
Oil stopgaps: Not worth risking
2013
Why the US should grant Edward Snowden amnesty
May we be more optimistic!
China headed for another massive social experiment?
A dialogue that worked
Yes, politicians deserve vacations - because we benefit
NPOs, NGOs invaluable as creators of dialogue
Look closer and ask: Is America reinventing itself?
Boston bombings case underlines need for dialogue
Millennium Development Goals or own goals?
As usual it's about balance - and timing - of course
Chinese strategists make right moves for growth
2012
Preparing for tomorrow
Austerity or growth?
Japan in danger of becoming 'just a place to fly over'
Beware of the business cycle?
An inconvenient truth
Limited offer sale: Buy a country
Where did our money go?
Leading from behind - a year of elections is almost over
Driving towards a green future
Waiting for springtime
Preserve or Perish
Startlingly similar Asia policy for Obama, Romney
Globalisation remains an irresistible trend
Google has the edge in smartphone war
U.S. Braces for China's Rise
Mankind’s General Scourge
The summer holidays are over and nothing has changed!
Put the hidden trillions to work
Making sense of India’s woes and wonders
Storm in a teacup!
Let’s give bad bankers a venue to admit their sins
News is about depth, not puff or velocity
Booming India, but too few toilets
Delayed Court decisions doesn't mean one may continue to play 'Great Game'
We need media to reflect on data and offer public a balanced view
Big polluters can lead in forging common purpose
The weighty issue of choosing a leader
EU-India Relations - Facing similar challenges
Educating with a goal
The Judicial Malaise
We are growing out, but not growing up
EU´s retrenchment enigma
Urbulence in the Eurozone and the effect on SMEs
Skolkovo May Help Russia to Diversify
Make things more effective
Tapping into the Commonwealth connection
Innovative models for public finance
Facebook revolution but Indian style
The feel-good factor
Asian investors - a private equity opportunity
India needs to be taller and stronger
China´s low sales volume...
Nations playing leapfrog
Shafts of sunlight
What webs we weave
As performers go to Davos, the circus steals the show
Can we control the politicians?
 
2011
Europe’s reminiscence
China firms should go for win-win in overseas ventures
Of procrastination...
Making sense of profiteering
Truth about financial mess must be laid bare
Small is also beautiful
China can help Europe with debt crisis
Excising the cancer of global corruption
Education, a critical asset
Arab uprisings set in motion forces of creative destruction
A new era of change
We must ensure better education for all
Beijing wary of bankrolling a lost cause
Asean's re-emergence as a local and global leader
Why India's Role in the Global Economy is Still Work in Progress
Its the leadership, stupid!
Reverse globalisation: The new buzzword
China's infrastructure push offers a sure track to better growth
By Frank-Jürgen Richter
South China Morning Post, December 18, 2014
 

Frank-Jürgen Richter says trade integration needs local infrastructure

China is busy developing new rail and river linkages. At a recent meeting in Wuhan , representatives from Europe, Central Asia and China met to discuss the strengthening of ties along the rail system - they wish to raise the frequency of pan-continental freight services.

For instance, Chinese goods rolled into Madrid early this month having travelled 13,000km from Yiwu, carrying toys and other Christmas goods, returning with wine, hams and olive oil: a good two-way trade clearly benefiting firms at either end of the line. Regular rail routes at present link Chongqing (with its auto industry) with Duisburg and Beijing with Hamburg, illustrating how rail can be a flexible system, reaching more destinations faster than a sea link.

What is missing is the quantity aspect: a "standard" train will carry only 30 containers - though some countries permit multiple engine units to push very long trains. In contrast, with little fuss, big ships haul up to 15,000 containers on regular timed services.

Given such figures, mayors along the Yangtze River have agreed to cooperate on the integration of road, rail and air transport, plus opening up their ports to redevelopment that will allow larger ships to pass further upriver.

However, generally, port throughput in China grew at a relatively modest level from January to October, according to Ministry of Transport data. Freight handled at the country's major ports grew 4.6 per cent year on year over the first 10 months to nearly 9.3 billion tonnes, compared with a 9.9 per cent increase in the same period last year. The slowdown is an indicator of the country's declining rate of foreign trade growth, which dipped to 2.5 per cent from January to October, from 7.6 per cent in the same period in 2013, as a result of the global slowdown.

Research shows that money spent on infrastructure is well spent. According to a World Bank survey, if Latin America's infrastructure was as good as East Asia's, countries with the worst roads and phones would see their annual growth rates increase by as much as five percentage points. Chinese economists are delighted by this and are extolling its development model to the rest of the world.

China spent 8.5 per cent of its gross domestic product investing in infrastructure from 1992 to 2011, according to the McKinsey Global Institute. That was more than any other country, and well above the developing-nation norm of 2-4 per cent of GDP. And, clearly, it looks "on track" to continue this expansion, and thus its potential for growth integration with the rest of the world.

Chinese growth is part of a globalised system. For China to grow, other nations must also invest in growth. But many nations are in recession or feeling the effects of government austerity measures.

India has great potential to trade more with China. China is already its top trading partner, just ahead of the US and the United Arab Emirates. But it has a chaotic transport infrastructure - a fact noted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has pledged US$25 billion to improve all infrastructure, including opening up the Ganges, a fantastic but currently underutilised internal trade pipeline.

In poor developing countries, one of the best ways to boost rural wealth is to build cycle tracks, allowing families to get their produce to market more effectively. Cash accrues, better food become available and, with more bikes, children can get to central schools. Any spare cash might be invested in micro-finance schemes, further benefiting the region.

This mini-development model can be applied in cities or even nations - the plan simply has to be writ larger.

Without local infrastructure across the whole spectrum of human activities around Yiwu and Madrid, there would be no point linking the cities with trains: neither side would be rich enough to buy the goods. Infrastructure needs to be planned, incubated and developed from small beginnings to the globalised systems of today, all the while maintained and redeveloped. The alternative is to live sparse lives.

 

Frank-Jürgen Richter is founder and chairman of Horasis, a global visions community.


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