Stories by Jonathan Hillman

Expert Voices

Without reforms, China's Belt and Road projects could fall short

Xi Jinping and Emomali Rahmon shaking hands
China's President Xi Jinping and Tajikistan's President Emomali Rahmon at the Second Belt and Road Forum in Beijing in April 2019. Photo: Valery Sharifulin/TASS via Getty Images

The World Bank has released a study on China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) that predicts major economic benefits, but only if Beijing makes some even bigger course corrections.

The big picture: While the authors find that infrastructure can increase growth through trade and investment, these gains depend on a host of reforms such as greater transparency and data reporting — especially around debt, open procurement, and social and environmental standards. Essentially, the study advises China that success requires becoming more like the World Bank.

Expert Voices

Sale of Huawei's underseas cables could leave risks unaddressed

Hengtong Group Chairman Cui Genliang speaking at a microphone
Hengtong Group Chairman Cui Genliang. Photo: VCG/VCG via Getty Images

Huawei is set to sell its underseas cable business, a move that could help China continue a critical part of its global infrastructure push.

Why it matters: Two weeks ago, the U.S. Commerce Department added Huawei to its “entities list,” blocking it from U.S. suppliers. The sale of Huawei’s underseas cable business would effectively pass the baton to another Chinese national champion, Hengtong Group.

Expert Voices

Trump may stop Huawei in U.S., but the underseas cable race continues

floating dock with workers installing underseas cable
Workers laying cable in the Baltic Sea. Photo: Jens Köhler/ullstein bild via Getty Images

President Trump's executive order and the Commerce Department’s “Entity List” create new challenges for Huawei’s 5G wireless technology in the U.S. But in the meantime, the Chinese telecom giant is racing ahead under the world’s seas.

Why it matters: Globally, about 380 submarine cables carry the vast majority of international data, from cloud computing to text messaging. These cables will only become more important with the arrival of 5G and other services that will increase the speed and volume of data being transferred.